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Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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Obituary for Sister Therese Blecha — April 15, 1941 – Jan. 4, 2021

Sister Therese Blecha died Jan. 4, 2021, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas. She was 79 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph of Concordia for 57 years. She was born in Belleville, Kansas, on April 15, 1941, to Ernest and Eleanor Baxa Blecha, the second of six children, and was baptized Eloise Ann. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 8, 1962. On Aug. 14, 1963, Eloise received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Therese. She pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1964 and final vows on Aug. 15, 1969.

Sister Therese began her undergraduate studies at Marymount College in 1959. Upon completion of her novitiate she returned to Marymount and completed her bachelor’s of science degree with a double major in chemistry and biology in 1965. For the next four years she taught in Boonville, Missouri, before returning to Sacred Heart High School in Salina where she taught from 1969-71. Therese began graduate work in 1973 and by 1976 she had completed all course work for her master’s degree and then a second master’s degree. By 1981 she completed her research project in organic chemistry and received her Ph.D. from Kansas State University. She returned to Marymount to serve on the faculty from 1976 until the college closed in 1989. From 1989 until 1993 she taught chemistry at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana.

In 1993 she was appointed as General Treasurer of the Congregation; a position she held until retiring in 2008. In 2012 she was elected to the Leadership Council of the Congregation; followed by being elected Vice President of the Congregation in 2016. Her term ended in July of 2020.

Sister Therese was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brothers Richard, of Salina, and David, of Munden; sisters Marjorie Schmitz and Marie Chmidling, of Topeka, and Cathie Switzer, of Concordia. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Jan. 7 in the Motherhouse Auditorium with Rev. Barry Brinkman presiding. The eulogist is Sister Jean Rosemarynoski. Due to the safety precautions for Covid-19, the funeral mass will be private. However, it will be livestreamed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Facebook page. The burial will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Chaput-Buoy Mortuary, 325 W. Sixth St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements. Memorials for Sister Therese Blecha 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.

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One thought on “Obituary for Sister Therese Blecha — April 15, 1941 – Jan. 4, 2021

  • Gerald Gillespie

    It was a privilege for me to have taught with Sr. Therese at Marymount until the College closed. Sr. Therese was one of those special sisters who always made me feel grateful for being there and for serving the students. Her smile was ever-present, always encouraging to everyone she met. Her intelligence and dedication to students and the rather quiet manner she went about doing that teaching served as a model for me, and I will always feel grateful to her. I greatly appreciated her integrative understanding of science, spirituality, and religion.

    I will miss her radiating face and presence among us. I know that the Reality of Christ’s Love bears even greater fruit for her now, And I give thanks for that fruit that she passed on to us in this life.
    Gerald and Mineko Gillespie

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