Sister Tharsilla Bichler

Sister Tharsilla Bichler enters eternal life

POCATELLO, ID (02-10-2014) - Just before midnight on February 9th, Sister Tharsilla Bichler peacefully entered eternal life at the Family Life Center in Pocatello. The Franciscan Community gathered around her in prayerful vigil for several hours before her death and were with her at the time of death. Since 2005, Sister Tharsilla has lived in Pocatello, after spending twenty four years in the Holy Land where she taught mathematics at the Anglican School in Jerusalem for seventeen years and then tutored at the Holy Child Program in Beit Sahur.

Sister Tharsilla was known in the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist for her strength of character, her indomitable spirit and her simplicity of life. She was born on January 28, 1932 in Strasburg, North Dakota, to Romanus and Mary Bichler. She had four siblings, Gerald Richard, Herman John, Venita Veronica and Annabelle Marie. In 1946 the family moved to Spokane, Washington. As a young woman, Tharsilla entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin, becoming a novice on August 12, 1950, when she was given the religious name of Sister Irmina. Later, she returned to her baptismal name of Tharsilla.

Sister Tharsilla taught in Milford, Iowa, La Crosse and Boyd, Wisconsin, and in Spokane, Washington at Our Lady of Fatima School and St. Xavier School. In 1973 she became a founding member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and was missioned to Blackfoot, Idaho and Juneau, Alaska before serving in the Holy Land.

Sister Tharsilla Bichler
Sister Tharsilla holds a bouquet of roses, a gift in acknowledgement of her twenty four years of service in the Holy Land. In likeness to St. Francis of Assisi, Sister Tharsilla, joyfully responded to the beauty of all of God's creatures with a Franciscan heart.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Viterbo College (now University) in 1960 and a Master of Arts in Education with a minor in History from the University of Detroit in 1966. In the years following, she took classes at Gonzaga University, Whitworth College and Fort Wright College in Spokane, the University of Seattle, and the University of Alaska in Juneau.

The Franciscan Sisters acknowledge with profound esteem and reverence the spirit with which Sister Tharsilla faced suffering during her life. Her pioneer attitude to embrace wholeheartedly her mission, her ready laugh at life's incongruities, and her graciousness with people endeared her to many. May she rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Sister Patricia Glass, FSE, Funeral Director, and the Downard Funeral Home, Pocatello. A wake will be held on February 23rd from 3-5 p.m. at the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist's Presentation Chapel, 2098 Truckerville Road, Pocatello. The Mass of Christian Burial will be on February 24th at St. Joseph Church, Pocatello at 11 a.m.

Sister Tharsilla Bichler
Sister Zita Senzig (left) and Sister Tharsilla prepare for the celebration of their 50th Jubilee Mass in Meriden, Connecticut, in July 2002. Sister Colleen Ann Nagle (right) celebrated her 25th Jubilee of vows.
Sister Tharsilla Bichler
Sister Tharsilla (left), Sister Rose Mesa, Sister Jacinta Coscia, Sister Mona Brunner and Sister Miriam Seiferman are shown at the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist during a summer retreat.