Sister Frances Marie was born on February 28, 1922 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Diocese of La Crosse. She was one of four children born to William and Agnes (Licht) Lendle. She attended St. Charles Catholic School in Chippewa Falls and later St. Paul’s School in Bloomer, Wisconsin. In 1932, her mother died leaving f…read more
Sister Frances Marie was born on February 28, 1922 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Diocese of La Crosse. She was one of four children born to William and Agnes (Licht) Lendle. She attended St. Charles Catholic School in Chippewa Falls and later St. Paul’s School in Bloomer, Wisconsin. In 1932, her mother died leaving four young children. Her father moved the family to Bloomer, Wisconsin where her father’s family resided. She and her siblings were raised by their aunts and uncles until her father remarried.
It was at St. Paul’s School in Bloomer where she first met the Sisters of the Divine Savior and sensed her call to become a sister. After graduating from eighth grade she attended Divine Savior Convent High School in Milwaukee and entered our congregation as a candidate on August 12, 1936 at the age of 14. She entered the novitiate August 12, 1938 receiving the religious name Agnella. She pronounced her first vows on August 13, 1939 and final vows on August 13, 1945 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 1958, she graduated from Mount Mary College with a BA in Mathematics and minors in History and English. She attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1964 with an MA in Administration and Supervision. In addition, she pursued graduate studies in Theology, Religious Studies, Math and Physics.
She began her career as an educator in 1941 teaching at Mother of Good Counsel School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Holy Name School, Wausau, Wisconsin and St. Mary’s School, Landover Hills, Maryland. She then moved into an administrative role, traveling to all the parish schools staffed by our sisters and assisted both principals and teachers. She remained in this role for six years. The following years she was director of education and Dean of Divine Savior College in Milwaukee for a period of 6 years. During this time she was also appointed to serve on the Provincial Council.
Moving out of ministries within the province, she went to the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan where for a period of 13 years she served as director of religious education and assistant superintendent of schools. Here she was instrumental in implementing a family-centered religious education program. She stated that “In the family education program, we are trying to help the parents in their role as principal educators by helping them to pull the family together and by teaching their children jointly with professional catechists.” She also stated that “the role of a primary educator is a sacred responsibility of parents and cannot be given away.” Catholic Weekly, Diocese of Kalamazoo.
Following her ministry in Kalamazoo, she moved to Birmingham, Alabama where she was the diocesan director of religious education for 11 years. In these years she took a leadership role in the development of various programs: developed a catechetical formation program for the diocese and an adult educational program for parishes, completed a DRE Handbook for parishes, organized and coordinated several Diocesan Ministries Conferences. Through her efforts, Spring Hill College of Mobile, Alabama established a Birmingham Campus providing a Masters degree in Theological Studies. Wherever Sister Frances Marie served on a diocesan level, she organized regular conferences for religious education. The National Conference of Catechetical Leadership honored her in 1996 for her contribution to the catechetical area on the national level and for her many years of service.
Sister Frances Marie served in the educational field for 52 years. During these years she served on national and local boards. Both professional and personal growth were high priorities for her; it was a way to improve and advance ministry effectiveness. Consequently, she attended innumerable workshops, seminars, conferences and conventions throughout the country.
In 1997, she moved back to Milwaukee to join the community at St. Anne’s Convent. In 2001, she moved to the newly remodeled Salvatorian Sisters Residence. She considered herself semi-retired and volunteered at Mount Mary College in the Ewens Conference Center and the Graduate Office. For many years, she facilitated a scripture discussion group at St. Margaret Mary Parish and also was the receptionist in the parish office one morning a week.
She will be remembered for her enthusiasm and high energy for the advancement of education on all levels. She always responded generously to any request for assistance even if it meant driving a great distance.
In her later years, Sister Frances Marie was very aware of her diminishing eyesight and with her ingenuity and creativity, she sought every help available. With the help of Family Care, she was able to get a magnifying machine and computer through Badger Home for the Blind and an Eye-Pal from the Lions Club so she could continue being in touch with persons and issues.
Due to a need for more consistent help, Sister Frances Marie moved to the St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus skilled care unit on March 14, 2014. Sister Fran continued to be interested in the events of the world and the community. When able, she loved to enter into a discussion about these things and often had insightful comments about them, demonstrating her wisdom of having lived through many years of world conflict, changes in the church and in religious life. She also shared her insights about the scripture of the day. Sister Fran always loved a good party and was eager to attend, even in her diminishing years.
Sister Frances Marie died peacefully on June 10, 2018. She was 96 years old and professed for 78 years. May she now enjoy the fullness of life promised by our Savior.
She was preceded in death by her parents William and Agnes Lendle, her brother, Gene Lendle, her sisters Ann Rowe and Louise Miller, brothers-in-law, Buford Rowe, James Miller and a sister-in-law, Wanda Lendle. She is survived by a step-sister, Marietta Burgess, nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, dear friends, and the Salvatorian Family.
Visitation and Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, June 15, 2018
St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus Chapel • 3800 North 92 Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Visitation begins at 12:45 PM.
A remembering service followed by the Mass of Christian Burial begins at 1:15 PM
Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 9:00 AM
St. Anne's Salvatorian Campus
Date: Friday, June 15, 2018
Time: 12:45 AM - 1:15 PM
St. Anne's Salvatorian Campus
Date: Friday, June 15, 2018
Time: 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Holy Cross Cemetery
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018
Time: 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Memorial contributions to the Sisters of the Divine Savior are appreciated.