Obituary for Sister Rachel Mayer
Sister Rachel Mayer, 74, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, entered eternal life, March 17, 2010, at a Bismarck care center.
Arlene Kathryn was born August 23, 1935, on a farm near Mott, N.D. She was the oldest of four children of Joseph J. and Rose (Harle) Mayer. In 1943 the family moved to a farm near Regent N.D. 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’s Hospital, Minot, N.D. But she felt something was missing in her life. She felt a desire to seek God more fully.
In 1956 she entered Annunciation Monastery where her younger sister, Sister Rebecca was a member. Arlene took the name of Sister Rachel and made monastic profession 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 Cathedral Grade School, Bismarck.
In her kind, patient and organized manner, Sister 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 Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). RCIA was especially close to her heart. It was 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 participants baptized into the Catholic Church.
In 2004, Sister Rachel began to divide her time between RCIA and serving as archivist for the monastery. Eager to learn new ways to enhance her ministries, Sister Rachel kept current on sacramental programs, RCIA and how to computerize the archival collection.
Sister 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.
Sister Rachel also loved her Benedictine sisters and the monastic life. “The blessings of living in community are too numerous to count,” she said on the occasion of her 50th anniversary as a Benedictine.
Sister 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.
Sister Rachel is survived by her sister, Sister Rebecca, Bismarck; two brothers, Vernon (Barb), Bismarck, Clifford (Karen), Oxnard, Calif.; nieces, nephews and their children and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery.
Memorials may be made to Annunciation Monastery.
To share memories of Sister Rachel, visit www.parkwayfuneral.com and sign the online guest book (Parkway Funeral Service, Bismarck)