Sister Gemma Anneken, 1914-2005
Born May 8, 1914, Rosedale, Kentucky
Entered St. Walburg Monastery, August 12, 1932
First Profession August 25, 1934
Died June 20, 2005
Sr. Gemma was the oldest of nine children of John and Clare Annken, long-time residents of Latonia and parishioners of Holy Cross Paris. Her baptismal name was Clara Ann.
Clara entered St. Walburg Monastery in August, 1932 and received the habit and her new name, Gemma, on February 10, 1933. Her three sisters, Srs.Clarita, Mary Xavier and Juanita also joined St. Walburg Monastery.
A graduate of Holy Cross Commerical School, Sr. Gemma brought great secretarial skills to the monastery. She received a Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1948. Her thesis, Growth of Catholicism in Covington, Kentucky 1830-1868 is available from the Kenton County Public Library.
Sr. Gemma was known as an excellent teacher and served in many schools in the Diocese of Covington. From 1943-45 and 1951-53 she single handedly managed St. James High School in Brooksville, Kentucky.
In retirement Sr. Gemma spent much of her time sending cards and greetings to her olds friends-many of whom were her former students. At her funeral vigil family and friends spoke tenderly of the notes and letters they received from her. She certainly enjoyed all the visits and cards that came to her in the infirmary.
In her later years, Sr. Gemma suffered a succession of mini-strokes. Sisters and community members would assemble at her bedside, praying the prayers for the dying and later she would always rouse, perk up and surprise everyone, appearing in her wheelchair in chapel! On June 19 Sr. Gemma seemed to suffer another mini-stroke but was still able to express herself. In the early morning of June 20, she died with Srs. Clarita, Xavier and Juanita keeping vigil.