Sister Christella Buser died Nov. 2, 2018, at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia. She was 94 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 71 years. She was born in Seneca, Kan., on July 29, 1924, to George and Elizabeth Karnowski Buser, the third of nine children, and was baptized Eleanore Maurine. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia on Sept. 8, 1946. On March 19, 1947, Eleanore received the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Christella. She pronounced first vows on March 19, 1948, and final vows on March 19, 1951.
Sister Christella received a B.A. in music education from Marymount College, Salina, and an M.A. in music education from DePaul University, Chicago. She taught music in Tipton, Concordia and Leawood, Kan. Sister Christella’s music ministry ended with election to the congregation’s Executive Council in 1965. She served as president from 1969 to 1975, leading the Sisters of St. Joseph during one of the most challenging periods in the Congregation’s history.
In 1977, Sister Christella searched out a new ministry within the L’Arche Community, dedicated to serving mentally and physically challenged persons. She worked with L’Arche for seven years in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, before returning to the United States where she was instrumental in founding the L’Arche Heartland Community in the Kansas City area.
In 1996, she published “Flowers from the Ark,” a collection of stories and poems from her years serving in the L’Arche Community.
After she retired in 2000, she created a new ministry called the Joy of Laughter. She presented her program to more than 100 different groups. Then in 2009, she introduced Heavenly Bits dog biscuits, which were sold to benefit the sisters’ Neighbor to Neighbor center in Concordia.
Sister Christella was preceded in death by her parents and six brothers. She is survived by two sisters, Mary Beth Morrissey, of Lacey, Wash., and Judith Lortscher, of Hurst, Texas. A Bible Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Nazareth Motherhouse auditorium. The eulogy, written by Sister Norma Schlick, will be given by Sister Marcia Allen and Michael Buser, Sister Christella’s nephew. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Nov. 9 in the Motherhouse Chapel with Father Kevin Cullen, SJ, presiding. The internment of cremains will be in the Nazareth Motherhouse Cemetery. Nutter Mortuary, 116 E. Sixth St., Concordia, is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials for Sister Christella Buser 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, 66901.
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