Eulogy for Sister Elizabeth (Beth) Stover — Oct. 16, 1941 – June 7, 2020

June 10, 2020 by

Vigil: June 11, 2020 at the Nazareth Motherhouse
Eulogists: Sister Mary Margaret Nacke and Sister Mary Savoie

Sister Mary Savoie begins:

Sister Beth Stover was born Oct. 16, 1941, the daughter of Paul John Stover and Marie Angela Grennan Stover on the family farm about 3 miles northwest of Beloit. At her baptism she was given the name Margaret Elizabeth. She was the youngest of five daughters: Mary Ellen Thummel Truex, Dolores Eck (deceased), Sister Colleen Stover (deceased), and Jane Morch.

Sister Beth was 5 years old when the family moved to the city of Beloit where she attended St. John’s School  until she graduated in 1947. During grade and high school she was an active member of the Girl Scouts.

She learned to play the organ at her local church under the direction of Sister Athanasia. Early on, Sister Athanasia said to her, “Go sit at the organ and play.”  Beth replied, “I can’t play the organ.”  But Sister replied, “Go sit there and play.”  So she did and that was her first organ lesson.  She was church organist throughout her high school years.

In September of 1959, Sisters Coleen and Beth entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Concordia, Kansas. When they left home, their mother told them, “tell people that your dad is a farmer. Do not tell them he runs a liquor store.”  Both Coleen and Beth received the religious habit on March 19, 1960, and Beth received the name Sister Ellen Dolorus. She made final profession of vows on March 19, 1966.  

After completing the novitiate, Sister Beth went to the House of Studies at Marymount College, Salina. While there, she began her training to be a registered nurse, but later changed her major program and became registered as a laboratory director. Upon the completion of that program, she served as director of laboratory services at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia from 1965 to 1971. Following that ministry, she attended St. Louis University, and in 1975 attained a Master’s Degree in hospital administration. In 1976 she accepted the position of Hospital Administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Concordia, Kansas, where she served until 1987. During those years, she also served as a member of the Kansas Hospital Administrators Board of Directors, as well as president of that organization for several years.

During the last few years as Administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital she gave many hours of competent advice and service during the building of Mount St. Joseph in Concordia.

During the spring of 1989, Sister Beth was hired as Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina, and in 1993, she accepted the position of Director of Catholic Charities for the Salina Diocese.

In June of 2008, Sister Beth was elected to serve on our Leadership Council.

In December of 2016, she moved to the Motherhouse where she continued involvement in many in-house ministries.

Sister Margaret Nacke continues:

In Road to Character, the author talks about “Resume Virtues,” skills brought to the marketplace; “Eulogy Virtues,” the qualities talked about at a funeral such as integrity, commitment, generosity, courage and sensitivity. Both types of virtues are important, worth pursuing and judge how we remember persons, but I want to recall these virtues relative to Sister Beth.

Sister Beth was a woman of integrity — committed to the church, congregation, her family, and the ministries in which she was involved.  She was a friend and steady companion to Sister Ann Glatter. When bags of sweet corn and rhubarb came from Sister Ann’s Nebraska farm, Beth and Ann spent hours in the peeling room, readying these gifts for the kitchen to prepare. In this work they were major beneficiaries to the congregation in providing healthy food for our table at the Motherhouse. 

One of Sister Beth’s strongest assets and great values to the congregation was her ability to examine information presented to members prior to and during meetings, and her fearlessness  in articulating the results of her thinking about that material at Community meetings. She showed great courage in speaking out about important matters.  She spoke from her conscience, her experience and her judgment. She asked a lot of questions which helped us to hone, expand and clarify thinking. In other words,  Sister Beth perused documents sent to Community members seriously; never hesitant to share the results of her reflections for the benefit of all of us.

Another virtue Sister Beth exhibited was her sensitivity to keeping confidences. She knew, when she was  a member of the leadership team and in discussion with a group, that which could be shared and that which remained leadership business.

Lastly, Sister Beth was a woman of multiple talents used wisely for the needs of the congregation and civic community. When a need arose and Beth was asked to take on a new ministry, she obliged; she never hesitated. 

Sister Mary Savoie concludes:

I have known Sister Elizabeth (Beth) Stover personally and as a skilled, committed and competent professional  Sister for many years. Perhaps the period in her life when she demonstrated these skills most was during the time that she served as hospital administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital here in Concordia. I especially appreciated her commitment as a Sister of St. Joseph during the time when we as a congregation were in the process of transferring ownership of our hospitals. I often told her how much time, talent,  energy and support she manifested and her reply was always, “That is what I knew was right for us to do at that time in our history.”  Not only did Sister Beth competently represent the congregational decision to transfer ownership of our health care systems,  but she also communicated this decision in a positive and effective manner to all the doctors and hospital staff. 

Another experience where I witnessed Sister Beth’s committed and competent professional skills was during the time that she and I served as community representatives on our NCAC board of directors.  Sister Beth always came to those meetings so well prepared and contributed very effectively.

Nor should we forget the many years that she served as a member of our Executive Leadership team. In that position, Sister Beth was always very conscious of her responsibility to reach out to members of the congregation, especially those in need of assistance.  She also continued her concern for happenings in the civic community of Concordia and beyond.

All in all, Sister Beth took every aspect of her ministry very seriously. Her ability to incorporate and collaborate with those around her stands out also as one of her outstanding personal and professional  skills and talents.

At the age of 78 and during her 60th year as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Beth Stover left us for her eternal home on Sunday, June 7, 2020.

These are just a few of the ways I will mention here today that Sister Beth’s commitment as a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia were part of her life among us.  We thank you, Sister Beth, for the time you spent with us and we ask that you continue to remember all of us as you enjoy your new eternal home.

Memorials for Sister Beth Stover 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 Beth Stover’s memory, click on the button below:

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