Sister Francine Cardew, FSE

Sister Francine Cardew, well known educator, enters eternal life

BRIDAL VEIL, OR (04-16-2013) - Sister Francine Cardew, FSE peacefully entered eternal life this afternoon after suffering with a rare form of cancer for the past three years. A passionate educator, Sister Francine is well known nationally and locally as the foundress of the Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Portland. She was dedicated to effective and creative education as a teacher and an administrator.

Sister Francine was born in Marmarth, North Dakota on St. Francis Day, October 4, 1933. At the age of nine she moved with her family to Seattle where she attended Holy Names Academy. In 1952 she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1955 she professed first vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. She began her life long mission in education as an elementary teacher in Plum City, Wisconsin, and subsequently was assigned to teach in Spokane, Washington at Our Lady of Fatima and St. Anthony schools. In 1964 she taught and was the principal of Queen of Peace School in Salem, Oregon. The following three years she administered St. Augustine School in Spokane. In 1970 she moved to Bozeman, Montana where she taught and counseled at Holy Rosary High School.

Sister Francine Cardew and Sisters

From left, Sister Francine, Sister Kathleen Ann Cieslak and Sister Anne Clare Keeler at the Franciscan Montessori Earth School.

Sister Francine served the Archdiocese of Vancouver (BC) as Director of Elementary Education from 1971 to 1974, after which she held the same position for the Archdiocese of Portland. She became a founding member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in 1973. Sister Francine saw potential in integrating the spirituality of St. Francis and the educational model of Maria Montessori to form the basis of creative education for children. In 1977 she, with Mother Mary Michael Costello, founded the Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Portland, beginning with 17 students, as a service of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Sister remained as founding administrator until last year. With two professional colleagues, Sister Francine co-founded a Board to open a training center for primary level educators in Portland for the Association Montessori Internationale. She participated in the national Montessori Administration Group, a group of administrators who foster collaboration among the various Montessori training programs. She also served two terms on the Archdiocese of Portland Pastoral Council.

Sister Francine CardewSister Francine held a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Viterbo College (now Viterbo University), La Crosse, Wisconsin and a Master of Education degree from the University of Portland. In May 2011, the University of Portland bestowed on her an honorary doctorate for her exemplary accomplishments in the field of education. In his letter of invitation, Reverend E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., University President, summed up Sister Francine's life commitment as a woman religious and as an educator: "We have long admired your courage and grace, your relentless creative energy, and your absolute dedication and commitment to the holiness and wonder of children, and I believe the time has come for Oregon's Catholic university to publicly and proudly applaud you as alumna, cousin in education of the heart and mind, and exemplary and brave citizen of Oregon. Your work there, Mother, will never be forgotten - you have stamped thousands of hearts with joy and epiphany, with love and reverence, and the world is better for the countless hours you poured yourself into elevating those children. What stunning work. God bless you for it."

The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Lay Apprentices, the staff and students of the Franciscan Montessori Earth School, Sister's brother Robert Barrett of Seattle, her sisters, Colleen Barrett and Margaret Barrett also of Seattle, her nieces and nephews, all mourn her death. She is predeceased by her mother Mary Barrett, her aunt Sister Colleen Kimbro, FSE and fourteen other Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and Brother Angelo Elliott of the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist.

Sister Patricia Glass, FSE, Funeral Director, and Holman's Funeral Service, Portland, are in charge of arrangements. A wake will be held at the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist home in Bridal Veil Thursday, April 18th, from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. and at St. Henry Church, Gresham, on Friday morning, April 19th, from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 A.M. Burial will be in the Franciscan cemetery in Bridal Veil.

Read more: Sister Francine, Featured Sister and Sister Francine Cardew to receive honorary doctorate