Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Lois Hauwiller, OSB

14 May 1944: Lois Louise Ann’s first communion with father Francis and mother Catherine Hauwiller

Born on March 25, 1936, Sister Lois remembered that “Mother said I came early and I am glad, as I arrived on the Feast of the Annunciation, and Mary is very precious to me.” Sister Lois, christened Lois Louise Ann Hauwiller in the St. Bonifacius Parish in Minnesota, was welcomed to the family of Francis and Catherine Hauwiller, as their second oldest child.

1954: High school graduation

Formal education began at St. Victoria Parish school (in Victoria, Minnesota), which was staffed by Benedictine Sisters from St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph. “In seventh grade, Sisters from St. Paul’s Priory became our teachers. As a freshman and sophomore, I attended Waconia High School, and one of my sophomore-year friends said she was going to become a nun. Right then, I said ‘I’m going to, too.’ Must have been the Holy Spirit. My mother told me years later that was the happiest day of her life.

Above: Lois with her “proud father and mother” on 29 May 1954. “The day before we became novices, we had a ‘dress-up day’ reception for our parents at St. Peter’s Parish Hall.”

“After sophomore year at Waconia, I finished my high school education at Visitation Convent School in St. Paul. Father (Gerald) O’Keefe taught Theology, but all my other teachers were from St. Paul’s Priory. After our novice reception on May 30, 1954, I began Noviate training on June 14, for one year and a day and then made first profession on July 11, 1955.

Novice reception, 30 May 1954 (l-r): Sisters Maureen Halladay, Judith Schweiss, Esther Sunberg, Pius Dingman, Mary Claire Inhofer, Gerald Hauwiller

“My ministry and service was always to meet the practical needs of a Parish or other religious facility. I primarily worked in kitchens, laundries and general housekeeping. From 1964-65, I worked with my Community members Sisters Monica Raway, Adella Winkelman and Aidan Barthel for Archbishop Leo Binz. I finally came home to live with my Community at our Benet Road Monastery in 2010, the year after it was completed. After I came to Benet Road, I continued helping with household chores and was also on our Monastery’s Liturgy Committee.

Sister Gerald’s final profession, 11 July 1958, with father and mother: “We receive our Benedictine rings and, for three days afterwards, we wore a crown and choir cloak.”

 “My Community, friends and family have helped me along the way my entire life. I have had many difficulties and health crises to overcome. That is why I love the verse from Matthew: ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26b, NRSCVE). “As we Sisters continue to shelter in place, we still see our friends and family from a distance (and phone calls work well). They are so precious to us! So, though this quarantine forces us to physically distance, we have never been closer spiritually and in our love for one another.

First profession, 11 July 1955: Sister Gerald Hauwiller, OSB

“My letter writing has increased, too. If you haven’t been a person who corresponds, I encourage you to try it. It is a meaningful gift and keepsake to get a card or letter from a loved one.

“To everyone reading this, especially those feeling down and discouraged or who have suffered traumatic loss as a result of this pandemic, I encourage you to turn to your earthly and heavenly support systems. And if you do not have either of these, there is help to be found–you are not alone! I pray that as you reach out, you will feel the firm grasp of another hand. And may our loving God bless you today.”