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Fr. Joseph Bugner


Divine Word Father Joseph Bugner, 89, died May 8 in Techny. He was a missionary in Papua New Guinea for 35 years.

Born on the family farm in Prairie View, Father Bugner descended from immigrants who settled Rogers Park in 1844. One of his forefathers donated the land on which St. Henry Church is built.

A priest for 61 years and in religious vows for 69, he did pastoral ministry for a year in Washington, D.C., before beginning his first overseas assignment in Papua New Guinea.

In 1964, he was assigned to Mount Hagen, where he provided pastoral care for the area’s residents and supervised catechists in Kuli in northeast New Guinea. Father Bugner’s parish served roughly 6,000 Catholics in a 120-square-mile territory in the Wahgi River Valley.

Under Father Bugner’s leadership, schools and community facilities increased. He managed catechists who taught about 300 children in 12 outlying areas. The parish school added two grades, and the government established an additional two schools. Father Bugner also built a medical clinic for Kuli.

Father Bugner had lived in the Divine Word Residence at Techny since 1999.

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Sr. Rita Clare Kristoff


Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Rita Clare (Patricia Ann) Kristoff, 84, died May 11 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Sister Rita Clare made her first religious profession with the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King in Lemont in 1958. She transferred her vows to the Sinsinawa Dominicans in 1995.

Her ministry was dedicated to elementary education. As a Franciscan sister, she taught for 30 years, working extensively with children with learning disabilities in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Indiana and Illinois. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at St. Stephen School and Sacred Heart School.

 As a Dominican sister, Sister Rita Clare ministered in Illinois and taught at St. Thomas More School and St. Basil School and served as resource person and helped children with special needs at St. Thomas the Apostle School. She also served as catechist at Divine Infant Parish, Westchester.