Sister M. Vibiana (Weber), CSC
(January 28, 1916 - January 15, 2012)
Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Vibiana (Weber), who died at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 15, 2012, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Sister Vibiana considered her music ministry, both teaching and playing the organ, as her greatest accomplishment. She did this for her entire 60 years in the schools of the West. Most would agree that being a music teacher in the elementary school was surely a fast track to heaven. Teaching piano lessons daily – from before school in the morning until evening prayer, and even on Saturdays -- could be a grueling schedule. In spite of this, Sister Vibiana loved her students. The fact that most elementary school music pupils were not highly talented or motivated to practice could only add to the merit giving such lessons earned.
Being a motivated student was never a problem for Sister Vibiana. She began her music lessons as a second-grader with Sister Rhoda, CSC, at Saint Paul’s School in Los Angeles, California, and became so accomplished that by the fourth grade she was able to play the organ in the parish church. The picture of a tiny fourth-grader perched on the bench of the big church organ playing for Masses, Benedictions and Holy Hours must certainly have produced many smiles. This little girl grew up to become a dedicated, compassionate and empathic teacher and listener who drew people to her like a magnet. Pupils and parents alike wanted to be with her because she was so gracious and kind. It was this welcoming approach that was part of her quiet but engaging attitude.
Though she always had a full schedule, Sister Vibiana managed to squeeze in time to tat, a skill she learned in the novitiate and lovingly continued as long as her arthritic fingers allowed it. She became so proficient that she tatted complete placemat sets for each of her nieces and made numerous gifts for family members and friends. Family was very important to Sister Vibiana and her family members cherished her as their “powerhouse of prayer.” Julia, her sister, was particularly close to Sister Vibiana. They visited often, and a highlight of this relationship was the trip they shared to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau in Germany.
Sister Vibiana’s prayer life continued to deepen when she came to Saint Mary’s because of the many opportunities for community and private prayer. She rarely missed coming down to the chapel for daily Mass and even when it was definitely a struggle, she made the supreme effort. The devotion to the rosary also was a vital part of her spiritual life. At times when not actually praying the rosary, she kept it wrapped around her fingers. Even as she used the missalette at Mass or searched for something in her ever-present clutch purse, or when she had visitors or sat in her room doing small tasks, the rosary was in her hands.
There is no doubt that Sister Vibiana was a woman of prayer. She stated in her biographical summary that she used her music ministry to help others appreciate music, and she used music to enhance others’ experience of God within the liturgy. She considered this a great gift.
Sister Vibiana gifted others with her care and graciousness. Now she is gifted with the presence of God.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Reception of the body and wake on Thursday, January 19, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. with the Mass of Resurrection at 1:30 p.m. the same day. All of these ceremonies will take place in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. May Sister Vibiana rest in peace.