Eulogy for Sister Edwardine Flavin, Sept. 18, 1923-May 27, 2016

May 30, 2016 by

Sister Edwardine Flavin

Sister Edwardine Flavin

VIGIL: May 30, 2016, at the Nazareth Motherhouse
EULOGIST: Sister Christella Buser

When Sister Edwardine asked me to give this eulogy, she informed me it should be short, nothing funny, funny. As I try to abide by her recommendations, I am hoping that our friendship and my deep respect for her will help shape my words.

Sister Edwardine was born Sept. 18, 1923, on a farm north of Cawker City, Kan., to John and Elizabeth Heinen Flavin. She was the third of six children and was baptized Marcella Ruth. Her four brothers and one sister have preceded her in death.

It was faith that helped the family through the Depression, through crop failure, and through the hard times that forged so many families here in the Midwest. Even though times were difficult, most years Edwardine received a Catholic education. She was valedictorian of her high school, attended a year of business school and took a job at the Boeing Defense Plant.

During the years of war and work for Boeing, Edwardine came to know she wanted to be a Sister of St. Joseph. When she told her father, her family supported her calling. The Mother General in those days wrote to Edwardine saying, “The work of a Sister of St. Joseph is in God’s defense plant.”

On July 16, 1943, Edwardine became a postulant, then a novice. On March 19, 1945, Edwardine made her first profession and went to work in the business office of a hospital in Seneca, Kan. Just two months later the world celebrated the end of the war. She professed final vows Aug. 15, 1948. Through the years, Edwardine taught, worked in hospitals and earned the trust of her Sisters. In June 1965, the year of her 20th Jubilee, she was elected treasurer of this congregation and served in that position for 20 years.

In the years that followed, Sister Edwardine was responsible for many financial innovations that enabled the congregation to function smoothly in an age of financial complexity, technological innovation, and increasing government regulations.

It was during these years that Edwardine, working with Sister Evangeline Thomas and with U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, took on the federal government. And won! Their work changed this community and religious communities across the country. Their combined efforts resulted in the ability of women religious across the country to receive Social Security. It is probable that other religious communities do not even know Edwardine’s name, but I know they are thankful for her visionary work that helps make retirement possible for so many of America’s religious.

In addition to the responsibilities of her office, Sister Edwardine was an active participant in Concordia Women’s Chamber, the Concordia Child Care Board, the Conference of Religious Treasurers and the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes.

After all the years of hard work and her retirement from her post as treasurer, Edwardine was rewarded with a sabbatical to the Holy Land and to Rome. When she returned, Edwardine took on the admitting and business offices of St. Joseph Hospital in Belvidere, Ill. She then took a brief retirement to replace both knees, and then Edwardine returned to Concordia to became the bookkeeper at Manna House of prayer — until she retired one last time and spent the rest of her life at the Motherhouse and then at Mount Joseph.

For someone who retired so many times, Edwardine was not a retiring spirit. She had inherited her father’s sense of humor and the twinkle in her mother’s eye that alerted you to her jokes. One year not long ago, I gave her an extra-large PayDay candy bar for her birthday. The next day I asked if she wanted me to cut it up. She patted her stomach and smiled.

Edwardine wasn’t just sweet; she also had a spicy side. She loved Subway sandwiches with jalapenos, so during her years at Mount Joseph, we’d have the occasional picnic: chips, lemonade and a chicken sandwich with the hottest peppers.

Edwardine has been part of our lives for many years. I know many of you will join me in missing this amazing woman, my good, good friend, Sister Eddie Spaghetti.

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Memorials for Sister Edwardine Flavin may be given to the Sisters of St. Joseph Health Care/Retirement Fund or the Apostolic Works of the Sisters; P.O Box 279, Concordia KS 66901. To make an online donation in Sister Edwardine’s memory, click on the button below:



One Response to “Eulogy for Sister Edwardine Flavin, Sept. 18, 1923-May 27, 2016”

  1. Missy Ljungdahl on May 30th, 2016 11:45 pm

    Christella, thank you for a wonderful tribute. I am praying for you as you mourn the loss of your dear friend. What a treasure!

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