Sister Juanita Federico, 1919-2009
Born November 14, 1919, New Orleans, Louisiana
Entered St. Scholastica Priory,
Covington, Louisiana, July 3, 1935
Received habit, January 20, 1936
First Profession April 8, 1937
Transferred her vow of stability to St. Walburg Monastery
July 11, 1991
Died February 17, 2009
Sister Juanita Federico, OSB was born in New Orleans, LA on November 4, 1919 to Francis J. and Juanita Cearns Federico and given the name Audrey Rita at her baptism. Audrey was one of six children-two girls and four boys. Joseph, Herbert and Anthony preceded her in death; Juanita Richardson and Charles survive.
The Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Priory in Covington, LA sponsored St. Scholastica Academy from which Audrey graduated. At age sixteen she entered the priory as a postulant on July 3, 1935. Audrey became Sister Juanita with the reception of the habit on January 20, 1936. Profession of temporary vows, usually for three years, occurred on April 8, 1937 but Sr. Juanita celebrated her 21st birthday and perpetual profession on November 4, 1940. Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in Covington, LA in 1962 and 1987. Her Diamond Jubilee occurred in Villa Hills in 1997.
For several years the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Priory were in prayerful discernment concerning dissolution of their institution. In the late 80’s the process of transfer to other Benedictine communities began and eleven sisters came to St. Walburg Monastery in Villa Hills. Sr. Juanita, one of this group, arrived on July 26, 1988 and celebrated the transfer of her vow of stability on July 11, 1991.
When she arrived at St. Walburg, Sr. Juanita was a well educated woman, having studied at multiple institutions in areas of social studies, library science and math. Experience in eleven elementary schools-grades 2 to 8-preceded her presence on the faculty of her old alma mater, St. Scholastica Academy, from 1949 until 1984. Here she became very involved in the classroom and with boarding students as well as in activities associated with alumnae. Communication with these former students and associates followed Sr. Juanita to Kentucky; she has received tributes and honors from the school, the alumnae and individuals who maintain a connection.
Shortly after her arrival in Villa Hills, Sr. Juanita suffered a severe fall. A long recuperation from this and the Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which afflicted her soon after, greatly limited her activity. Having assumed a very active role in educational and community affairs in Louisiana, this affliction was a trial she bore most patiently.
Sr. Juanita was faithful to her Benedictine heritage in prayer, hospitality and community. Despite physical disabilities she was gracious, gentle and patient. She enjoyed visitors, even when conversation became difficult or almost impossible. A constant flow of oxygen from the ever-present machine helped with the breathing.
Recently Sr. Juanita was hospitalized for a brief period but it was obvious that her condition was deteriorating. Death came peacefully on the morning of February 17, 2009. Besides her Benedictine community, her sister and brother, Sr. Juanita is survived by a number of nieces and nephews.