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Fr. Donald Fenske

Pastor emeritus

Father Donald J. Fenske, 88, died Oct. 12. He was pastor emeritus of the former Our Lady of Knock Parish, now the Our Lady of Knock Worship Site of Jesus, Shepherd of Souls Parish, in Calumet City.

Born in Chicago, Father Fenske attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1958.

He served at St. Bartholomew; St. Pascal; St. Raymond de Penafort, Mount Prospect; St. Beatrice Parish, Schiller Park; and Our Lady of Hope, Rosemont, before becoming pastor of Our Lady of Knock, where he served until 2002.

Father Pat Lyons met Father Fenske more than 20 years ago when he arrived as associate pastor of Our Lady of Knock.

“He will be remembered for his kindness, quiet side and his sense of humor,” Lyons said.

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Sr. Mary Dennis McMahon


Sister of St. Agnes Sister Mary Dennis (Mary Therese) McMahon, 92, died Sept. 22 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Born in Chicago, she graduated from Immaculate Conception High School, Elmhurst, then entered St. Agnes Convent, Fond du Lac. She was in her 72nd year of her religious life.

Sister Mary Dennis ministered as an elementary-grade teacher and was principal both in grade and high schools in Illinois, Indiana, New York and Wisconsin for over 50 years.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Mary Dennis served at St. Nicholas, Evanston (1951-1956, 1969-75), St. Zachary, Des Plaines (1963-1969), St. Joseph (Orleans Street) (1988-1992) and St. Thomas of Canterbury (1992-2001).

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Sr. Helen Kron


Sister of Christian Charity Helen (Elizabeth) Kron, 91, died Oct. 5 at Sacred Heart Convent, Wilmette, Illinois. 

Born in Chicago, she entered the novitiate and was given the name Sister Helen in 1948 and made her first vows in 1950.

She served at schools in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois and Minnesota before returning to Wilmette in 1977. At Mallinckrodt College, she served as registrar and then administrative secretary. In 1980, she served at Josephinum High School as the office clerk.

In 1981, Sister Helen moved to Sacred Heart Convent in Wilmette, serving as portress for three years and then supervising the housekeeping staff until 2017.

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Sr. Mary Ann O’Ryan

Educator, prioress

Benedictine Sister Mary Ann (Veronica) O’Ryan, 78, died Oct. 5 at St. Scholastica Monastery.

Sister Mary Ann grew up in St. Symphorosa Parish and attended Mount Assisi High School in Lemont before entering St. Scholastica Monastery in 1960. She made her first vows in 1962, while studying at Mundelein College.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Mary Ann taught in parish schools at Queen of All Saints (1963-1964; 1970-1973), St. Hilary (1964-1965; 1973-1974; principal 1974-1980), St. Scholastica Academy (dean of students 1980-1982, 1998-2012), Children of Peace (1994-1998).

Sister Mary Ann taught Western civilization, U.S. history, world history and gender history (1988-1991, 1993-1994)  at Loyola University Chicago. She also taught in Colorado.

She served for four years as prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago beginning in 1982 and as treasurer of the community since 2012. She also was  president of Illinois Treasurers of Religious Institutes.

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Sr. Helen Martin

Educator, community leader

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Helen (Marie Clara) Martin, 93, died Oct. 9 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Illinois, Sister Helen made her first religious profession in 1947 and her perpetual profession in 1950.

She was a teacher, principal and community leader who ministered in Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, Alabama and Washington.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Helen taught at St. Thomas the Apostle (1957-1958) and Westside Education Center (2001-2003). She served as principal at Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity, Winnetka (1969-1976); as vicaress provincial of the Southeast Province for the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation (1968-1972); and prioress of Divine Providence Convent, Des Plaines (2004-2007).

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Sr. Claire Gonsowski


Sister of St. Joseph-Third Order of St. Francis Claire Gonsowski, 90, died Oct. 13.

Sister Claire was born in Chicago and attended St. Fidelis Parish. She was in religious life for 72 years.

She was a teacher and principal at schools in Illinois and Indiana, a chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center and a caregiver for the elderly and children.

She is survived by her siblings Dolores, Lillian and Frank.