Obituary: Franciscan Sister Mary Paula Pohlmann

Franciscan Sister Mary Paula Pohlmann, 91, died Dec. 26, at Alverna Apartments, Little Falls. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 4 at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls.

Rita Agnes Pohlmann was born March 2, 1928, in Melrose. She was the fourth of six children born to Joseph and Mary (Soenneker) Pohlmann. She attended rural elementary schools and then attended St. Francis High School, graduating in 1946.

In 1948 she followed her three aunts, Sisters Valeria Soenneker, Agnes Soenneker and Elizabeth Soenneker to the Little Falls Franciscan Community. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota, Aug. 12, 1948, and was given the name, Sister Mary Paula. She made her first profession of vows on Aug. 12, 1950, and final vows Aug. 12, 1953. She was a Franciscan Sister for 71 years.

Following studies at St. Francis School of Nursing, Breckenridge, Sister Paula became a registered nurse. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in hospital administration from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.

She ministered as a staff nurse, instructor, nursing service director, personnel director and administrator in Breckenridge and Little Falls, and in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. She was a member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Catholic Health Association for several years. She also served as director of health services for the Franciscan Sisters. In 1976, she was elected community minister and she served in that capacity for eight years.

At the completion of her term, she moved to Berkeley, California, and studied massage. She was a massage therapist and Trager Practitioner in Berkeley for 22 years. She then spent several years at Clare’s Well in Annandale, continuing her massage ministry. She moved to Little Falls in 2018, where she pursued an active retirement.

Sister Paula was preceded in death by siblings Valeria Boecker, Eddie, Lawrence and Joseph. Survivors include her sister Marie Dobmeier, nieces, nephews and her Franciscan community.


Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

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

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