Date of death: 3/17/2010
Saint Meinrad Class: SS 1985
Sr. Rachel, 74, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monasterty, Bismarck, died at the Bismarck Care Center. A mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, March 20 in the Chapel of Annunciation Monastery.Arlene Kathryn was born on August 23, 1935 on a farm near Mott, ND. She was the oldest of four children of Joseph J. and Rose (Harle) Mayer. In 1943 the family moved to a farm near Regent, ND where Arlene and her sister and brothers grew up. After high school, Arlene earned a degree in nursing and worked in pediatrics at St. Joseph Hospital, Minot, ND.In 1956 she entered Annunciation Monastery where her younger sister, Sr. Rebecca was a member. Arlene took the name of Sr. Rachel and made monastic profession on July 11, 1958. The community asked her to become a teacher and she found she had natural gifts for that ministry. “It was exactly where I was meant to be,” she said. She taught 10 years at Christ the King School, Mandan and spent 38 years at the Cathedral Grade School, Bismarck.In her kind, patient and organized manner, Sr. Rachel brought many children and adults deeper into the Catholic Church and closer to Jesus. At the Cathedral she prepared hundreds of children for first confession and first communion. She coordinated children’s liturgies, was confirmation coordinator and director of the Rite of Chrisitan Initiation of Adults (RCIA). RCIA was especially close to her heart. It was a life-giving for her to accompany adults on their faith journey and to see how much their baptismal commitment meant to them. She rejoiced every Easter to see her RCIA participatns baptized into the Catholic Church.In 2004 Sr. Rachel began to divide her time between RCIA and seving as archivist for the monastery. Eager to learn new ways to enhance her ministries, Sr. Rachel kept current on sacramental programs, RCIA and how to computerize the archival collection. Sr. Rachel had a deep love for her family and liked to share pictures of her nieces and nephews and their children. She enjoyed crocheting and made small gifts for family and friends. While she crocheted, she either prayed or listened to sports on the radio. She liked all kinds of sports: baseball, basketball, football and even golf.Sr. Rachel also loved her Benedictine sisters and the monastic life. “The blessings of living in community are two numerous to count,” she said on the occasion of her 50th anniversary as a Benedictine.Sr. Rachel was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. She was hospitalized with health complications and had to relearn to walk and to use her hands again. She was determined to return to work and was making good progress. When sisters offered to help, she would say, “No, I can do it. About six weeks ago she had another health setback and eventually God called her home.Sr. Rachel is survived by her sister, Sr. Rebecca, Bismarck; two brothers, Vernon (Barb), Bismarck and Clifford (Karen), Oxnard, CA; nieces and nephews and their children and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery.