Deacon Kenneth Bell

Class of 1978

Deacon Kenneth A. Bell, 93, died Oct. 27. He was ordained in 1978 and served at St. Domitilla Parish.

He is survived by his children, Christine Bell, Monica Gieser, Stephen Bell, Marty Bell, Phil Bell, Greg Bell, Therese Stellato, John Bell and Paul Bell; 21 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

Deacon Bell and his late wife, Jeanne, lived for 20 years in Hillside and 41 years in Berkeley. He was an auditor and an accountant for several insurance companies and, in his 70s, became a business manager for Mary Queen of Heaven Parish in Cicero and St. Clare of Montefalco Parish.

At St. Domitilla, he served on the parish council, numerous committees, worked with the lectors, participated in the Christian Family Movement, and taught baptism classes with his wife Jeanne before becoming a deacon. After ordination, he led the Sorrowful Mother novenas, baptized babies and married couples, led a Bible study for more than 20 years and was a part of the Men’s Christ Renews His Parish team and then the men’s prayer group. The thing he loved doing the most was preaching the homilies at Mass on Sundays, according to his family.

In 2016, after his wife died, he moved to Casa San Carlo in Northlake, where he served on the liturgy committee and wrote meditations for the daily Masses.

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Sr. M. Rosalinda Grigonis


Sister of St. Casimir M. Rosalinda Grigonis, 96, died Oct. 9.

Born in Gary, Indiana, Sister Rosalinda entered the Sisters of St. Casimir in 1938 and made her final vows in 1947.

She taught in schools in New Mexico, Nebraska and Illinois.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Our Lady of Vilna School (1940-1941), Providence of God School (1941), Immaculate Conception School, Brighton Park (1942-1946, 1947-1949), St. Anthony, Cicero (1949), Nativity BVM School (1952-1955), St. George, Bridgeport (1965-1967), St. Joseph, South Chicago (1968-1969) and St. Peter and Paul (1955-1965), where she also served as principal. She ministered at Maria High School as math teacher and assistant principal (1971-1989). She then served as assistant to the general treasurer before moving to Franciscan Village in 2014, where she served in the ministry of prayer and presence. 

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Sr. Betty Obal

Served the poor

Loretto Sister Betty Obal, 75, died Oct. 12 at the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky.

Born in Nebraska, Sister Betty was received into the Sisters of Loretto in 1984 and made her final vows in 1993. She served mostly in Denver, Chicago and New York, where she worked at the United Nations in Loretto’s NGO office.

From 1987 to 1995, Sister Betty lived in Chicago. During this period, she lived in a variety of settings, including at the Catholic Worker house in Uptown Chicago. She also worked part-time and full-time in a number of positions, including as associate director of alternative housing for women with disabilities and for the Institute of Women Today Sisterhouse, an ecumenical group where more than 15 female ex-offenders, religious sisters, teachers and homeless people shared community. During this time, Sister Betty also initiated the Accessibility Project, a Loretto-funded study that resulted in improved policies and standards in the Chicago archdiocese for inclusion of persons with disabilities. In addition, she was a substitute teacher in several Chicago-area school districts. 

She is survived by her sister, Delores Jacobs, and her brother, Thomas Obal.

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Sr. Mary Corona Molenda


Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth Mary Corona (Teresa) Molenda, 92, died Oct. 14 in Grand Prairie, Texas, where she ministered to elderly sisters, leading them each day in prayers, exercises, songs and poetry.

A native of Argo, she had been in religious life for 76 years. She began her teaching ministry at St. Hyacinth School in Chicago in 1945. She taught for 61 years in Illinois, Florida and Texas.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at St. Hyacinth, St. Susanna, St. Josaphat, St. Stanislaus, Holy Trinity, St. Adalbert, St. Hedwig and St. Camillus.

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Sr. Mary Saynay


Adrian Dominican Sister Mary (Michael Celeste) Saynay, 91, died Oct. 21 in Adrian, Michigan.

Born in Detroit, she was in the 70th year of religious life.

Sister Mary ministered in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

In Chicago, she taught at St. Columbanus (1949-1952) and St. Mary Star of the Sea (1952-1955).

She is survived by two brothers, Joseph and Lawrence Saynay, and seven sisters: Margaret Rogers, Barbara Barba, Lillian Grochowski, Bernadine Eschrich, Constance Saynay, Rosalie Spellecy and Adrian Dominican Sister Barbara Mary Saynay.

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Sr. Phyllis Dugan


Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Phyllis (Mary Regina) Dugan, 90, died Oct. 22 in Ohio.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, she was in her 73rd year of religious life.

In Chicago, she served as the principal of Notre Dame High School for Girls (1972-1982). After a short sabbatical, Sister Phyllis returned to work as a consultant to secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago (1983-1988), and later became assistant superintendent for secondary education in the Diocese of Cleveland. In 1993, she returned to Columbus, and served as the director of pastoral services for the diocese until health issues made it necessary for her to retire in 2002.

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Sr. Barbara Ann Walenty

Hospital nurse

Maryknoll Sister Barbara Ann (Rose Barbara) Walenty, 90, died Oct. 24 in Maryknoll, New York.

She was born in Detroit and had been a Mary-knoll sister for 61 years.

She served as a hospital operating room supervisor in Kansas City before being sent to Hong Kong in 1963. She studied Cantonese and served there as an operating room supervisor and supervisor of the student nurse hostel. In 1973, she returned to the United States and ministered in hospitals and Catholic communities in Chinatowns in New York and Boston.

In 1979, she was assigned to St. Therese Chinese Catholic School in Chicago, where she served as school nurse and teacher’s aide until 1986, when she returned to Michigan to care for her elderly parents. 

In 1999, she returned to Chicago to retire, but continued to volunteer as a part-time religious education and art teacher at St. Therese School, where she remained until 2008.

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Sr. Margaret Mihm

Educator, administrator

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Margaret (Elenara) Mihm, 101, died Oct. 26 in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.

Born in Washington, D.C., Sister Margaret made her first religious profession in 1943 and her final profession in 1946.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Margaret taught at St. Thomas More (1949-1955) and Queen of Peace, Burbank (1976-1977, 1978-1980). She served as assistant business officer at Rosary College (now Dominican University), River Forest (1967-1968), and as the secretary for the Eastern Province of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation while living in River Forest (1989-1992) and secretary of Project OPUS (Order of Preachers in the United States) (1993-2000).

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Sr. Kathleen Malone


Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Kathleen (Donaldus) Malone, 80, died Oct. 29, 2018, in Lancaster, Wisconsin.

Born in Nebraska, she made her first religious profession as a Sinsinawa Dominican in 1958 and her perpetual profession in 1961. She taught for 39 years and served in educational administration for 18 years. Sister Kathleen served in Wisconsin and Illinois.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Visitation (1960-1965).