Sister Joseph Ruschmann, 1911-2009
Born April 29, John’s Hill, Kentucky
Entered St. Walburg Monastery August 10, 1934
Received habit, August 13, 1935
First Profession August 14, 1936
Died December 28, 2009
Sister Joseph Ruschmann, OSB was born in John’s Hill, Kentucky on April 29, 1911 to Joseph and Clara Motz Ruschmann and given the name Lillian at her baptism. Lillian was second oldest of eleven children—nine girls and two boys, one of whom, William, died in childhood. The oldest girl became Sister Clara, CDP, now deceased. Two others became Sisters Agnes and David, OSB. Three others are residents at Madonna Manor. All of these with their families have been devoted and frequent visitors at St. Walburg Monastery through many years.
Eventually the Ruschmanns became parishioners at St. Therese in Southgate and it was here Lillian met Sr. Laura Schollerer, OSB who cooked for the sisters at St. Therese. Sr. Laura invited Lillian to visit the Benedictine Sisters at St. Walburg Monastery. It was here that Lillian became a postulant on August 10, 1934 and received the habit and her new name, Sister Joseph, on August 13, 1935. Sr. Joseph made her first profession on August 14, 1936 and perpetual profession on August 14, 1939. Silver Jubilee was celebrated on June 17, 1961; Golden on June 21, 1986 and Diamond on June 8, 1996.
Sr. Joseph was introduced to the community by one who served as cook and it was in this capacity that she served others during her many years of ministry. Her cooking skills were remarkable, her recipes in great demand, her influence on others—as person and cook—only God could know. The following were blessed with Sr. Joseph’s service: St. Walburg Monastery 1937-1956; 1960-61; Villa Madonna College kitchen 1956-57; Marydale kitchen 1957-60; Holy Cross Convent 1961-63; Madonna Manor 1964-86. Although she was semi-retired at the Manor in 1986, she continued with the excellent pies and breads until 1999 when she moved to the monastery infirmary.
During these later years, Sr. Joseph found movement difficult but she continued to participate where she could. Twice each week she was a regular at exercises. She enjoyed the daily card games even with poor eyesight. She participated in family gatherings which were often held at the monastery for convenience.
Events of Sr. Joseph’s life would not be complete without reference to her Benedictine spirit. Her presence at community prayers and Eucharist, her devotion to private prayer, her gentle manner, patience in all circumstances, and quiet influence on all who knew her and worked with her, spoke louder than any words.
A definite deterioration in Sr. Joseph’s physical condition was evident just a week or so ago. On December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, having received the Sacrament of Anointing, surrounded by her sisters, she died peacefully. She is survived by this Benedictine community, Sisters Agnes and David, one brother, five sisters and many nieces and nephews.