Eulogy for Sister Dorothy Hoover — Nov. 14, 1929 – Jan. 30, 2022

April 3, 2022 by

Vigil: Feb. 3, 2022, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogist: Sister Janet Lander

In the Maxims of the Little Institute, written by our founder, Fr. Jean-Pierre Médaille, we hear the invitation: “Accordingly, pursue to the very end and with gentleness and vigor what you have once and for all resolved and what you prudently believe corresponds to the greater glory of God.” (MLI, 67) Sister Dorothy Hoover passed into eternal life on Sunday, Jan, 30, 2022. In her life, I believe we will find an example of one who lived this maxim well.

Dorothy Josephine Hoover was born Nov. 14, 1929 in the hospital in Junction City. Her parents were Laurence and Josephine (Caspar) Hoover. She was baptized at St. Xavier Church,  Junction City, on Jan. 5, 1930. Her younger brothers, Bernard and James, were born in the next few years. Bernard was to marry and become a doctor. Jim became a priest in the Salina Diocese.
They all grew up on a farm two miles east of Junction City. Dorothy often shared memories of all they had to do on the farm. But one of her most vivid memories from her youth is that of being saved from drowning when she was 14. She recounted, “My life went before me. I am grateful to the mercy of God for surviving.”

Dorothy and her brothers were active in 4-H and also took piano lessons from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Dorothy attended both grade school and high school at St. Xavier’s. She was always grateful for her 12 years of Catholic education. She graduated from high school in May of 1947. In her life review she says, “Our Catholic faith had a high priority in the family … To miss Sunday Mass was never an option. Our family life was much involved with St. Xavier’s Parish. We took eggs from the farm to the sisters every week when I was a child. … Attendance at school had a high priority and we were rewarded if we worked for grades. I grew up surrounded by much extended family. … Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas were big family reunions.”

After high school, Dorothy and her best friend, Pat, chose St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wichita for nurses’ training. While she was in training she accompanied a school chorus. She graduated in August of 1950, and began working at St. Joseph’s Hospital. From 1951 to 1952 she also attended Kansas State University for three semesters. In an attempt to support herself while going to school, Dorothy worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manhattan, and then as staff nurse at the Junction City hospital in the fall of 1952. While she was there she began actively discerning whether to enter religious life.

On February 11, 1953, Dorothy became a postulant with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. She received the habit, and the name Sister Mary de Lourdes on August 15, 1953. She made first vows August 15, 1954 and final vows August 15, 1957. There were three sisters in her band. One left and S. Janice Koelzer pre-deceased her.

After novitiate, Sister Dorothy spent one year in the House of Studies at Marymount, and then began her ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph. From then until 1999 Sister Dorothy gave herself to ongoing ministries in nursing and pharmacy, as well as the teaching of nursing. To do so, she also engaged in various programs of study: a BS in nursing from Marymount, a degree in Pharmacy from Creighton University, a Masters in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Missouri, and another Masters in Medical-Surgical Nursing at Kansas State University Medical Center, not to mention other courses, such as Psychiatric Nursing, plus numerous workshops. She ministered at St. John’s Hospital, Salina, the hospital in Seneca, St. Mary’s in Manhattan, Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, Johnson County Mental Health Center in Olathe, KS, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City. She also taught at Avila College, Marymount College and Creighton University.

In her life review Dorothy reflected on the joy she also found in serving both students and patients. She also looked back on these years saying, “I have enjoyed community life on the missions where I resided. …I have found my Sisters in religion as loving, caring and supportive women. I am grateful for this.

The joy of a sabbatical year arrived in 1998-99. This was a time of transition. Sister Dorothy’s sabbatical included the Sarah Sabbatical program at Manna House, in Concordia. Then she went away for an Ignatian 30 day retreat, followed by volunteer work at Manna House and at Open Door in Junction City. She recounted that the highlight of this year was a trip to the Holy Land and Greece with Sister Marilyn Foote. About her trip she reminisced, “We were able to walk where Jesus trod…I had wanted to do this for a long time.” All of this was bookended by two summers at Creighton University studying in the spirituality program. Learning was a passion for Dorothy.

Post-sabbatical time found Dorothy transitioning into new ministries, offering spiritual direction, and teaching spirituality courses for the Salina Diocese. She began doing volunteer work, including being a hospice volunteer and giving a dream workshop at Manna House. She began this early period of retirement, residing first at Medaille Center, Salina; then Hillside Convent, Concordia.

Finally Dorothy moved to the Motherhouse in 2008 where she appreciated having more time for prayer and growth in the interior life. Initially she helped at the reception desk and with driving to medical appointments. Dorothy typically served behind the scenes, helping the sisters with computer, doing notetaking or bookkeeping. One thing she excelled at and enjoyed over the years was playing bridge.

At the end of her life review Sister Dorothy expressed gratitude and hope saying, “I am grateful to God for God’s many blessing…religious vocation, retreats, educational opportunities, friends, ministries. I especially thank my CSJ community….” “In the time remaining in life,” she added, “I hope to grow in my journey to God and love of the dear neighbor, …and to be a joyful presence.” In this year’s Commitment to Mission and Ministry she embraced the words of Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God. … Only God can say what this new spirit forming in you will be.”

Now, dear Dorothy, your spirit and God’s are one; growth in your journey has come to its fullness in Christ. You have given yourself over into the loving and grace-filled hands of our God. We entrust you as one who has lived out our Maxim 73: “Live out your life with one desire only: to be always what God wants you to be, in nature, grace and glory, for time and for eternity.” (Maxims of the Little Institute). We are grateful to God for your life among us, Dorothy.

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