Obituary: Benedictine Sister Sheila Rausch

Benedictine Sister Sheila (Shirley) Rausch, 93, died Aug. 4 at St. Benedict’s Senior Community, St. Cloud. A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Benedict’s Monastery on Aug. 11, followed by inurnment of her cremated remains in the monastery cemetery. 

Shirley Rausch was born Nov.  26, 1926, to Christopher and Irene (Peaslee) Rausch in Watkins, the younger of two daughters. She attended Kimball High School in Kimball and graduated from St. Francis High School in Little Falls. She entered St. Benedict’s Monastery Sept. 5, 1949, was received into the novitiate June 15, 1950, made first monastic profession July 11, 1951, and perpetual monastic profession July 11, 1954. Her golden jubilee was celebrated in 2001 and her 60th anniversary in 2011.

Sister Sheila received a bachelor’s degree in English with minors in Latin, history, education and philosophy from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, a master’s degree in English from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a doctorate degree in English with a minor in history at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  

She served as a teacher at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud and at the College of St. Benedict. Sister Sheila traveled several times to England taking students on study abroad programs. She retired from the college faculty in 1998 at which time she was honored by being named professor alumna. She also served in the monastery’s development and communications office (now mission advancement) as a writer and editor, including time as editor of the monastery magazine, “Benedictine Sisters and Friends. 

She was passionate about social justice and was active in the Bread for the World project, a member of the monastery’s World Justice/New Jubilee committee, volunteered in ministry at the Stearns County Jail and had a prison pen pal. In 2013, Sister Sheila moved to St. Scholastica Convent and to St. Benedict’s Senior Community in 2016.

Sister Sheila is survived by the sisters in her Benedictine community and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Leona Marschel.   

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Benson Funeral Home. Please direct memorial gifts to the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict Outreach Ministries.    

Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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