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Celebrating Sister Mary Susan

Celebrating Sister Mary Susan - (07-03-2023)

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Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Mary Susan Huppe, OSB died March 6, 2023. She was born Susan Ann on Oct. 23, 1937, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Juanita and Frank Huppe. She joined a brother, Frank, who was three years her senior.

Sister Susan said of her childhood, “I did the usual things girls do when growing up. Slumber parties, square dancing, ice skating, softball and volleyball, boating, sleigh riding, and taking in the latest movies.”

When she was 14 years old, she attended boarding school at Ursuline Academy in Paola, Kansas. She learned about the Benedictine Sisters from her father and from her great-aunts, Mother Mary Dolorosa and Sisters Mary Hildelita, Laurentia and Justina. She had happy memories of visits to Clyde, Missouri, before her parents were divorced. She remembered the bells, the old guest house, the wagon they rode to the chicken houses, and feeding the fish with altar bread scraps.

Sister Susan felt called to the Congregation because she did not want to teach or nurse. Instead, she was drawn to a quiet, simple life of prayer and work. The vocation call came when she was just 14 years old. Previously, she had hoped to get married and have 12 children, but one night she had an experience of being “zapped” by God.

She wrote, “I felt God’s deep love for me in a very tangible way, and I felt called to return His love by giving myself completely to Him.”

She later discovered that it had been the Feast of Saint Benedict, and the Sisters were praying the prayer for vocations during Vocation Week.

Initially, her intention was to enter the monastery after high school graduation, but by October of that year, she had hopes of entering earlier. Susan and her mother wrote letters to her aunts, and her mother gave her permission to enter. Amid tears of sorrow and joy, Susan’s brother drove her and their mother to Clyde where they spent a few days together before saying goodbye.

Susan entered as an aspirant on Feb. 10, 1953, on the Feast of Saint Scholastica. She became a postulant on Jan. 3, 1954, and made her first vows on Nov. 9, 1956, receiving the name Sister Mary Teresina. She recalled that date as “the happiest day of my life.”

She made her final vows on Feb. 24, 1962. She completed the requirements for her high school diploma in 1969 and attended the Institute of Religious Formation at Saint Louis University in 1978.

During her years in community, Sister Susan served at the monasteries in

Clyde; Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City; St. Louis; Mundelein, Illinois; and San Diego. She worked in the correspondence department, the kitchen, the sacristy, sewing, in altar bread production and as portress. She served as vocation director, postulant director, novice director and as sub-prioress.

Sister Susan described herself as enjoying the ocean, the mountains, Disneyland, laughing and sharing with friends, reading, singing, and dancing, ice skating and a good movie. She also enjoyed times of silence and solitude, including retreats, hermit days and prayer in chapel or in her room. Sister Susan expressed gratitude for “the many ways in which God has been present in my life and for my vocation, family and friends.”

In failing health, Sister Susan transferred to Our Lady of Rickenbach in 2016. She continued her extensive correspondence with her many friends and family members. Death came unexpectedly and peacefully during the night of March 6, 2023. Her brother, Frank, her sister-in-law, Patricia, and nurse, Heather, were with her.

Sister Susan was always very close to her brother. She left instructions for her death notice to include, “Tell the whole world that my brother, Frank, is the best brother on planet earth!”

Sister Susan is survived by her brother, Frank, her nieces and nephews, and her monastic family. Her funeral liturgy at the Benedictine Sisters’ Adoration Chapel will be March 8, 2023, with burial following in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Clyde.