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Fr. Michael P. Ahlstrom

Vicar for deacons

Father Michael P. Ahlstrom, 82, died May 3. He was a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and former pastor of St. Colette Parish in Rolling Meadows.

Born in Indianapolis, Father Ahlstrom attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1969. He also earned a master’s degree in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame.

He was a faculty member at Niles College of Loyola University and assistant pastor of St. Bernadette, Evergreen Park. He then served as associate pastor of St. Gertrude, Franklin Park; Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Park Ridge; and Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was appointed pastor of St. Colette Parish, a position he held from 1989 until 2003.

Father Ahlstrom served as vicar for deacons from 2004 to 2013, and served as vicar emeritus after his retirement.

During his career in ministry, Father Ahlstrom also served as associate director of the Office for Divine Worship; instructor and chairman of the board of the Liturgical Institute in Mundelein; instructor in medical ethics at Little Company of Mary School of Nursing; priest presenter for Engaged Encounter and Marriage Encounter; pastor in residence and liturgy instructor at Mundelein Seminary; board member of Chicago Studies; member of the Annual Catholic Appeal board; and member of Catholic Charities’ Parish Outreach Committee.

Deacon James Norman, current vicar for deacons, worked with Father Ahlstrom for the past two years. “It was clear that he valued and loved the diaconate community: deacons, their wives and families. He was always there when needed to celebrate a Mass, lead a prayer, coach and mentor. He left us a legacy of love and support.”

Deacon David Brencic, assistant director of the Office of the Diaconate, also was a friend and colleague of Father Ahlstrom. “He was really loved by the deacons and wives, and it was mutual,” Brencic said. “I remember him saying at several gatherings of deacons and wives, ‘My main job is to love you.’ He was a true shepherd and generous servant.”

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Sr. Mary Alvina Gill

Educator, nursing administrator

Felician Sister Mary Alvina (La Verne) Gill, 93, died April 18 at Mother of Good Counsel Convent.

Born in Chicago, she attended Sts. Peter and Paul School and St. Joseph High School. She entered the Felician Sisters in 1949 and professed her final vows in 1951.

She ministered for a brief time as an elementary school teacher in Illinois. She also served in the ministry of nursing at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee and at St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, and served as the assistant administrator at St. Andrew Life Center in Niles.

In her later years, she ministered in a variety of roles in the provincial house.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she ministered at St. Wenceslaus (1951-1953), Sacred Heart (1953-1956), St. Joseph (1956-1957) and St. Andrew Life Center (1986-2014).

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Sr. Elaine Ann Taylor

Art educator

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Elaine Ann Taylor, 84, died April 23 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Ohio, Sister Elaine made her first religious profession in 1961 and her perpetual profession of vows in 1967.

Her ministry was dedicated to teaching the arts. She ministered in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Florida.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Elaine taught art at St. Thomas the Apostle School, art and religion at St. Benedict High School, and art at Trinity High School, River Forest.

She is survived by two sisters, Jane Kantowicz and Mary Taylor.

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Sr. Genevieve of St. Margaret Mary

‘Begging sister’

Little Sister of the Poor Genevieve of St. Margaret Mary (baptized Catherine Anne Roche), 82, died April 24 at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine, where she lived since 2006. 

Born the sixth of 13 children in California, she was inspired by an older sister who entered the Little Sisters of the Poor. She made her first vows in 1963 and her final vows in 1967.

For most of her religious life, she was a “begging sister,” visiting produce markets, businesses, parishes and benefactors, where she spread her great devotion to St. Joseph knowing with confidence that God would provide for the needs of the home, the residents and Little Sisters.

She is survived by her sisters, Little Sister of the Poor Elisabeth Anne de Notre Dame, Alice Roche, Dorothy Kennedy and Barbara Hopkins.

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Sr. Teresita Weind

Congregational leader


Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Teresita (Helen Louise) Weind, 81, died April 28 in Cincinnati.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, to a Baptist family, Sister Teresita entered full community with the Catholic Church at the age of 12. She attended Catholic schools and met Catholic sisters, inspiring her to enter the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation in 1960. She made first vows in 1963 and final vows in 1968. She transferred her vows to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1973 and made her final commitment to the congregation in 1976.

She served two terms in the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur’s general leadership, and was the 19th superior general of the congregation.

Sister Teresita was also a founding member of the National Black Sisters Conference, where she served on the board and on many committees. She represented the NBSSC also on the board of the National Office of Black Catholics. She was also a leader in Women of Color, formed by SNDdeN General Government Group in the late 1980s, to promote anti-racism and cross-cultural efforts within the congregation.

She had also served in provincial leadership.

Sister Teresita earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in North Dakota, and in 1972, a master’s degree in religious studies from Mundelein College. She ministered in Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota and Ohio.

She ministered in the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1970 to 1991. During those years, she moved from nursing to pastoral ministry and changed religious communities.

From 1973 to 1979, Sister Teresita was the director of liturgical formation for Black Parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago. She then joined the pastoral team at the recently merged St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy Parish in Oak Park, while giving retreats and workshops across the country. She was also one of the founders of Mary’s Pence, a funding source for women who wish to create social change, start community initiatives and foster collaboration.

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Sr. Mary Collins

Educator, congregational leader

Benedictine Sister Mary (Mary Dennis) Collins, 88, died May 2 at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas.

Born in Chicago, Sister Mary entered the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, in 1957 after graduating from Mount St. Scholastica College. She taught high school for several years before beginning her doctoral studies at the Catholic University of America. After earning a doctorate in liturgical theology, she taught religious studies at Benedictine College and the University of Kansas.

In 1967, she became associate professor of religious studies at the Catholic University of America and in 1983 became chair of the religion department. After a short period in North Carolina, she returned in 1987 to the Catholic University of America, where she taught until she was elected prioress of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in 1999. A significant figure in the broader world of Benedictine women, she was first councilor for the Federation of St. Scholastica for twelve years and a consultant or author for many of their documents.

Sister Mary was a member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and belonged to several professional theological organizations. She wrote, collaborated on, or edited a large number of articles and books on religion and liturgy for which she was widely known.

She is survived by her brother, John Collins.