Sister Mary Maureen (Ursula Rose) Blenkush, 98, died on Nov. 17, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls. A private burial service was held Nov. 19. A memorial Mass will be held at a later date with family and friends.
Ursula Rose (called Sally)Blenkush was born on Nov. 12, 1922, in St. Stephen, Minn. She was the eighth of 11 children born to the late Andrew and Rose (Oman) Blenkush. She was born and baptized that day.
Sally attended grade school in St. Stephen where all her classmates were relatives. It was during her high school years at St. Francis High School that she felt a call to religious life and on Jan. 5, 1940, she entered the postulancy. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minn., on Aug. 12, 1940, and given the name Sister Mary Maureen. She was a Franciscan Sister for 80 years.
Sister Maureen obtained her R.N. at St. Francis School of Nursing, Breckenridge, and a master’s degree in pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.
Sister Maureen ministered as a staff nurse, nursing instructor and pharmacist at several Franciscan facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Later, she served as a parish minister in several parishes, as motherhouse administrator and as coordinator of the convent library. She served on governing boards of health care facilities for 25 years.
In Little Falls, Sister Maureen was very active in promoting and implementing the annual “Relay for Life” program for many years. In 2000, the Little Falls Exchange Club awarded Sister Maureen its highest honor, the Golden Deeds Award. While living at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent in Little Falls, she was very active in a prayer group that met on a regular basis.
Sister Maureen treasured the gift of life and believed the appropriate response to this gift was to live it as fully as possible. She was a fun-loving, creative and enthusiastic person, and always had a witty comeback.
Sister Maureen was preceded in death by siblings Florence, August, Mary Alice Sowada, Dorothy Henz, Laurence, Leon, Claude, Josephine Sowada, Theresa Gregory and Philip. Survivors include nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.
Donations to Franciscan Sisters ministries preferred.