Franciscan Sister Louise McKigney, 83, died Nov. 21 at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. A private burial was held Nov. 23. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date.
Louise was born on Dec. 19, 1936, in Tracy, Minnesota, to Edward and Mary (Hauger) McKigney, the 14th of 15 children. The family later moved to a farm near Sedan. She attended a country school for eight years, then studied at St. Francis High School in Little Falls, graduating in 1955.
She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls on July 31, 1955, and given the name Sister Mary Zita. She returned to her baptismal name in 1967. She was a Franciscan Sister for 65 years.
Sister Louise ministered in food service, serving at St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Little Falls; Community Mercy Hospital, Onamia; and Holy Spirit Convent, St. Cloud. In 1972 she responded to the Franciscan call to step out of the “safe zone” and work among the poor in Holmes County, Mississippi, along with Franciscan Sisters Beverly Weidner and Loretta Beyer. She spent 46 years living among the poor there, ministering as a social services advocate representing claimants for disabilities and other programs.
In 1982 the sisters began to accept children whose parents were unable to care for them. In 1989 Sisters Louise, Loretta and Beverly received the Rural Organizing and Cultural Center annual award for Outstanding Advocacy Work. In 2003 they received the Franciscan Federation Reconciler Award — a prestigious award given annually to a person or group that exemplifies the spirit of the Federation.
Sister Louise was preceded in death by her parents and siblings: Vincent (Audrey), Mary (Bill) Baumgartner, Edward, Charles, Helen (Al) Grandy, Rita (Nicholas) Jansen, James, and Joan Peters; sisters-in-law Marci McKigney and Arlene McKigney; brothers-in-law Edward Helm and Lawrence Rasmusson. She is survived by siblings: Theresa Helm, Goodrich, Michigan; Geraldine Rasmusson, Glenwood; Alice (James) Kinney, Sauk Centre; Dorothy (Walbert) Peters, Springdale, Arkansas; Robert, Osakis; and Leo, Villard; sister-in-law Barbara, Royal Oak, Michigan; brother-in-law Jerome Peters, Sauk Centre; as well as by many nieces and nephews and her Franciscan Community.
Donations preferred to Franciscan Sisters ministries.