Our beloved Mother Foundress enters eternal life
MERIDEN, CT (06-26-2016) - Mother Rosemae Pender, FSE, Mother Foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, entered eternal life suddenly during the celebration Mass for her 75th Jubilee of vows at the Franciscan Sisters’ Chapel of St. John. Mother Rosemae had received the renewal of vows of Mother Shaun Vergauwen, FSE, Mother General, also a jubilarian, and then renewed her own vows into the hands of Mother Shaun. Following the renewal of vows, Mother Rosemae presented the Constitutions of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist to Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell, principal celebrant, during the offertory procession. She then suffered a heart attack and died before the end of Mass. Over 260 friends, religious, and priests were present in the chapel for this most profound and historic moment.
Mother Rosemae was born Sept. 11, 1921 in Elgin, Illinois, the second daughter of George and Rose Pender, and was named Norma Joan. She entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wisconsin and professed first vows in 1941. She administered and taught in elementary schools in Iowa and Wisconsin and later, taught English at Viterbo College, La Crosse.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Viterbo College in 1951 and a Master of Arts degree in English from The Catholic University of America in 1957. From 1959-1960 she studied at Regina Mundi in Rome in preparation for directing the religious formation of young Sisters. She also pursued post-masters studies at St. Louis University.
From 1960 to 1964, Sister Rosemae was the director of postulants, and from 1964 to 1970, the director of junior sisters. In 1964 she was elected to the General Council, the administrative body assisting the Mother General in the governance of the Community.
Mother Rosemae is survived by her Sisters in Community, the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Apprentices, and numerous bishops, priests, religious men and women, and friends throughout the world. The FSE Community serves the Church in the USA, Assisi and Rome, Italy, the Holy Land and Vancouver, BC.