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OBITUARY | Sr. Florence Wesselmann, SSND

Sr. Wesselmann
Sister Florence Wesselmann died Nov. 20 at Anna House in Bridgeton at age 88.

Born on a farm near Aviston, Illinois, she and her family later moved to a farm near Pierron, Illinois. When she was 9 years old, the family moved again to a farm in Mascoutah, Illinois. The closest Catholic high school was the Academy of Notre Dame in Belleville, Illinois. Since she could not travel back and forth each day, she became one of the boarders. She appreciated her teachers, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and decided to give religious life a try.

She entered the candidature at Sancta Maria in Ripa in 1950 and was received into the novitiate in 1951 when she was given the name Miriam George in honor of her father. She professed first vows in 1952 and final vows in 1958.

Sister Florence received a bachelor’s degree in English from the former Notre Dame College in St. Louis in 1961; a master’s degree in elementary education from Saint Louis University in 1968 and a master’s degree in spirituality from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, in 1982.

Sister Florence ministered in formal education for 24 years. She taught elementary children at St. Hedwig and St. Gabriel Schools in St. Louis; and secondary students at Duchesne High School in St. Charles and at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington. She also taught in Linn, Kansas City and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and in Illinois and Iowa. She served as a principal in Keokuk, Iowa, for six years.

Sister Florence served as an area director of elementary education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis for seven years. Following a year of study, she ministered as a formation director for the former St. Louis Province for five years. She was a tutor in the former Notre Dame Tutorial/Learning Center at Ripa for 19 years.

In her retirement years, she ministered as a spiritual director in her parish and with the Bridges Retreat Program in St. Louis. As her health declined, she was missioned to Veronica House in 2014 and to Anna House in 2015. She was diagnosed with cancer in June 2020.

Sister Florence found her niche in teaching English literature. She also treasured her years serving as a music minister in schools and parishes.

A prayer service and/or memorial Mass will be celebrated later. Survivors include her sisters, Sister Miriam Catherine Wesselmann, SSND, of St. Louis and Pat Kassing of Freeburg, Missouri, and her brother, Richard of Moraga, California.

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