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Obituary | Sister Mary Teresa Noth, FSM

Sister Mary Teresa Noth
A memorial Mass for Sister Mary Teresa Noth, FSM, was to be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, in the chapel at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. Sister Noth died Dec. 14 at The Sarah Community. She was 95, had been a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 72 years and was a former dean of the Saint Louis University School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.

Born on Oct. 28, 1923, in Glasgow, Mo., she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1945, and taught science at Ward High School in Kansas City, Kan. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary on Aug. 2, 1946, then received the name Sister Mary Stephen; she professed final vows Feb. 11, 1952. She earned a bachelor’s (1952) and master’s (1957) degrees in nursing education, both through SLU. She earned a doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York (1964). In 1988, she earned a certificate in corporate ministry through SLU.

Sister Mary Teresa served as head nurse/supervisor at St. Mary’s (1952-56), also teaching science in the congregation’s high school and serving as director of novices for a year. She was administrative assistant to the dean of the School of Nursing at SLU (1956-62); she also taught nursing. She was appointed director of SLU’s Department of Nursing (1964-66).

In 1966, she became Dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, serving until 1982. In 1971, she began a program for an accelerated BSN for students who already had a bachelor’s degree, the first program of its kind in the United States. In addition, a building specifically for the nursing school was built during her tenure as dean, and she developed and implemented innovative academic programs and curricula, on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, such as the midwifery program.

In 1981, she was elected to serve as councilor and vicar general for the Sisters of St. Mary in addition to nursing school dean for a year. In 1982, she moved full time to congregational service.

In 1988, she joined the pastoral care staff at St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Ill., serving as director from 1989 to 1994. She was chaplain at St. Mary’s Health Center (1994–2006). In June 2010, she moved to The Sarah Community.

Of her leadership, she said: “It was never about you. All the graduates speak for themselves. It was a faculty and staff that worked together that brought the School of Nursing to where it is today. … Maybe I was able to make the nursing school more about education. It helped us to become all that we could become just a little better all the time.”

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