Sister Rose Veronica Mattingly, CSC

Sister M. Rose Veronica Mattingly, CSC

(June 6, 1910 - October 1, 2011)

Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Rose Veronica (Mattingly), who died at 10:51 a.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2011, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

No matter to whom you talked, all would smile at the mention of Sister Rose Veronica’s name and then invariably comment on how gracious or lovely or unpretentious a person she was. Any positive adjective seemed to describe this wonderful Sister of the Holy Cross who inspired others by her quiet example of exactly what a dedicated religious should be. Yet, with all of these outstanding qualities, she was a humble religious living her day-to-day life striving for a closer relationship with God. Every evening around 7 p.m. Sister Rose Veronica would go quietly into the Augusta Hall chapel, position herself in the very back row and pray the rosary. Visiting with her a few weeks before she died, I told her I was going to the chapel to sit in her chair and pray the rosary, hoping to get some of her holiness by osmosis. She smiled and laughed, saying “I’m still working very hard on that.”

Sister Rose Veronica’s own inspiration and vocation came from the example of her great-aunt, Holy Cross Sister Ulrica, who died in 1952. Sister Regina Dolores, Sister Rose Veronica's sibling, was probably influenced by that same great-aunt because she, too, entered Holy Cross in 1928 with her sister. Sister Regina Dolores died in 1971. When Sister Rose Veronica spoke of her younger sister’s early death contrasted with her 101 years, she commented, “Guess the Lord still has more work for me to do.”

Sister Rose Veronica did the work of the Lord in the schools of the Midwest for over 50 years. She taught in the elementary grades for 23 years and in high schools for 28 years. She loved teaching high school teenagers and, as senior class sponsor and student council advisor, she quickly became their favorite because of her straight forward manner of dealing with them. They matured quickly under her guidance. Teaching math to these students was special to her because she saw it as an ordered way of looking at solutions in life and especially at God in all of creation. She found God in every aspect of her life and communicated that joy and conviction in the classroom and in all of life’s situations.

In 1980 Sister Rose Veronica left teaching to help care for her sister who was very ill. This prepared her for a new phase of ministry when, at the age of 70, she became a caregiver to the elderly of the Columbus, Ohio, area. It gave her great joy to offer services to those in need, especially by enabling them to remain in their own homes and to continue to be somewhat independent as long as possible. She helped by taking them shopping, to doctors’ appointments and by providing a support system for them in any way she could. At the age of 88 she felt it was time to retire to Saint Mary’s, where she continued to serve wherever she was needed.

In her retirement years Sister Rose Veronica finally had time to allow her artistic ability to flower. She modestly claimed, “I had no training but may have had some natural talent.” This humility belied the fact that her paintings were prized items at the annual Saint Mary’s convent art fair, which displayed the craft items produced by the sisters. She also generously shared her talent by designing various cards for special occasions and to honor the personal requests of her numerous friends.

Sister Rose Veronica’s love of community was clearly demonstrated by her 80 years of religious commitment. However, her love of family was always evident in the devotion shown her by the steady stream of family members who frequently visited her. She was a gracious lady with a simple and deep love of God that she shared with all. It is always hard to lose a friend but when that friend is a dear devoted religious, the separation is heavy with regret that there is no more time for sharing her gifts and her wisdom.

May Sister Rose Veronica rest in peace.


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