Sister Raymond Fessler, 1914-2007

Born February 18, 1914, Newport, Kentucky
Entered St. Walburg Monastery, Covington, Kentucky, September 26, 1944
Received habit, June 27, 1945
First Profession July 1, 1946
Died May 2, 2008

Sr. Raymond Fessler was born to Edward and Louise Ruschman Fessler on February 18, 1914 in Newport, KY and was given the name Mildred Rose at her baptism. She was the oldest of four children-a brother Ray and twin sisters, Martha and Mary. Mary died in 1953. After working for some time the business field, Mildred entered St. Walburg Monastery on September 26, 1944. She received the habit and her new name, Sister Raymond, on June 27, 1945. First profession followed on July 1, 1946. This same year on September 8 her sister Martha (Sister Monica) followed her to St. Walburg Monastery. On July 1, 1949 Sr. Raymond made perpetual monastic profession. Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees followed in 1971, 1996 and 2006.

From September until April after her first profession, Sr. Raymond cared for elementary school boarders at Villa Madonna Academy. In 1947 her previous experience in the business world prompted her appointment as bookkeeper in community sponsored hospitals-Mount Mary Hospital, Hazard, KY (1947-1963) and St. Joseph Hospital, Florence, CO (1963-1972). When circumstances warranted the community’s withdrawal from hospitals, Sr. Raymond returned to the monastery. From 1972 until 1981 she assisted with housekeeping and other services in the monastery infirmary and from 1981 until 1985 in this same capacity at Madonna Manor. After 1985 until her death she was a valued presence at home in the monastery. She was assistant sacristan and her specialty was flowers. Even in her last months Sr. Raymond could be seen in the chapel touching or smelling lovely bouquets. Her kindness and warmth drew all to her. The dishwasher man and his family remained friends long after her “machine days” were over. Children from VMA who “adopted” infirmary sisters loved Sr. Raymond-and their parents appreciated this affection and friendship.

When the monastery bought reading machines for the visually impaired, Sr. Raymond, with Sr. Monica, spent much time patiently perusing books, pamphlets and community papers. Poor eyesight did not hamper her skill in card games, Scrabble and dominos.

Sr. Raymond was a faithful Benedictine. Eucharist and community prayer were vital in her life. Who among the sisters has not heard the daily afternoon private prayer in the chapel? After days and hours of quiet waiting, with sisters at her side, Sr. Raymond died peacefully on Friday, May 2, 2008. May her prayers continue for and with us. She is survived by Sr. Monica, her brother Ray, several nieces and nephews as well as the St. Walburg community, including three Ruschmann sisters, her cousins.