Sister Cleo Schoenbauer, OSB, Nov. 1, 1929 – Dec. 14, 2011
My oldest sister suffered a hemotoma in 2007 leaving her unable to talk or walk. Usually she seemed to be understanding who was present and what was being said but it was impossible to know what was going on in her mind. So death seems a blessing for her but it is still a loss. Something that was is no more. Grief is mourning the past that can never be retrieved. When an older sibling dies it is a reminder of one’s own mortality and an assessment of what life amounts to anyway.
Cleo was a happy person, fun-loving and sociable. She was a high school cheerleader, a Homecoming queen, briefly a beautitian and then a nun for 61 years. Suriing those years she was a teacher, a prioress, and a parish assistant, the favorite part of her life. She loved family and remembered birthdays and anniversaries of siblings, nephews, nieces, and cousins. She did a great job of tracking down our family history from its American start in 1858–how quickly memory of one generation fades when another begins. We’ve missed her in these years when her functionality was diminshed and we will miss her more now. Rest in peace Cleo.