Sister Dolora Marie Walker, CSC

(March 20, 1927 - Decembr 15, 2012)

Word has been received of the death of Sister Dolora Marie (Walker), who died at 6 a.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2012, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Dolora Marie was a quiet, retiring sort of person. She never put herself forward but always was more than willing to be of service to others. There was a maturity and dignity about her, perhaps because of her experience of working in the business field for eight years before entering the congregation at age 25.

A dedicated religious, Sister Dolora Marie lived her commitment to the fullest. Her unwavering response to directives and requests from those in authority was without equal. Her vow of obedience gave direction and purpose to everything she did. Whenever she was asked to accept a responsibility, her immediate “yes” was exemplary. Even though Sister Dolora Marie was very shy, she accepted the very public role of secretary on the General Council under Mother Olivette as a sacred trust, and she fulfilled that position with unparalleled devotion. Because of the excellent training in business management and finance that she received from Bentley University, a nationally recognized school of business in Boston, she was able to perform her secretarial duties with ease.

Sister Dolora Marie’s skills were appreciated and appropriately used in the community. She served as treasurer, bookkeeper and secretary for most of her active ministry years. These roles were easy for her because they supported her introverted personality and allowed her to work quietly and independently in her office without being required to interact with a great number of people. It follows that her passion and success in working crossword puzzles was related to this aspect of her personality.

However, when called upon to respond to a need, Sister Dolora Marie willingly stepped out of her comfort zone to accept new responsibilities. After her years as secretary on the General Council, she went to Parana, Brazil, for four years to serve as a catechist on the parish staff. This new experience was a joy to her, but when her parents’ deteriorating health demanded her presence, she returned to the United States to fulfill that duty.

After the death of her father in 1978, Sister Dolora Marie continued to use her business expertise serving as bookkeeper in the diocesan office of religious education in Boston and then as administrative assistant in the youth ministry office. Again, in response to a need, she went home to care for her 95-year-old mother until her mother’s death. In a natural transition from this caretaker role, Sister Dolora Marie then began eight years of service to the elderly, and that service continued when she came to Saint Mary’s in 2008 to minister to the retired sisters in the convent.

No story of Sister Dolora Marie would be complete without mentioning her love of animals, but especially dogs. When volunteers to Saint Mary’s would bring their dogs for pet therapy visits, she was the first in line for an extended and enjoyable visit. Her devotion to St. Francis of Assisi was no doubt related to their mutual love of God’s creatures.

Besides her love of St. Francis, Sister Dolora Marie had a great love of the Blessed Mother under her title of Our Lady of the Rosary. However, the real depth of her spirituality was her constant and complete “fiat” in every phase of her long and faithful life as an exemplary Sister of the Holy Cross. Sister Dolora said her last “fiat” when she said “yes” to God’s call on Saturday to join him in his heavenly kingdom. Sister now rests in peace.


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