Sister Rosalyn Geenen

Feb. 26, 1932 - May 15, 2009

Sister Rosalyn (Gladys Marie Catherine) Geenen entered eternal life Friday, May 15, 2009, in Mercy Hospital, Janesville, the 10th child of the late Henry R. and Gladys Catherine (nee McCormick) Geenen. She was born Feb. 26, 1932, in Freedom.

She attended Saint Nicholas Elementary School in Freedom, and after graduating from Holy Family Academy, attended Silver Lake College where she earned a bachelor of arts degree with majors in English and philosophy and minors in French and theology. Sister Rosalyn pursued a masterís degree from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated with a Master of Science in elementary education-administration and supervision.

Sister Rosalyn took religious vows on Aug. 15, 1952, with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc. She changed her community affiliation to the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady on Dec. 8, 1981. Sister celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a religious on Aug. 15, 2002.

Sister Rosalyn served as a teacher in the Diocese of Green Bay at St. Andrew, Manitowoc; Corpus Christi, Sturgeon Bay; St. Thomas More, Appleton; and St. Phillip, Green Bay: In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: St. Maryís, Waukesha, and Holy Spirit, Milwaukee. In the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio: St. Benedict, Cambridge.

Sister Rosalyn served as an administrator in the Diocese of Green Bay at St. Peter and Paul, Kiel; in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at St. Mary, Waukesha; and in the Diocese of Steubenville, St. Benedict, Cambridge.

Sister served the church in the field of education for 45 years (22 years as a principal/administrator and 23 years as a teacher). Throughout her education career, Sister Rosalyn continued to earn academic credits from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc; University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Alverno College, Milwaukee; Mount Mary College and Marquette University, Milwaukee; and the University of Dayton, Ohio. Sister held the following licenses: elementary teacher for kindergarten through eighth grade from the state of Wisconsin and from the state of Ohio. Sister also held an elementary school administrators license (over 10 teachers) from the state of Wisconsin and the state of Ohio. Sister Rosalyn maintained advanced certification in religious education from the Diocese of Green Bay, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Steubenville.

As a dedicated, responsible and caring teacher, Sister Rosalyn enjoyed teaching every grade level and every subject. She challenged each student to do his or her best and provided the opportunity for her students to achieve that goal. Her dynamic personality, boundless energy and vision inspired them daily. As a philosophy of education, Sister Rosalyn believed that learning can best take place in a positive, caring atmosphere - conductive to the formation of the whole person. If a student needed extra help to understand a concept of a lesson or master a specific skill, Sister always had time. She would take a minute or two to stop and clarify the concept. If more time was needed she would help a student before or after school or on Saturdays. Sister believed that mistakes were normal and accepted - but effort and mastery of skills were expected.

As a classroom teacher, Sister showed consistency, vision, example and she always encouraged the students. She challenged each student, on a daily basis, to excel and to love learning in and of itself.

As a school administrator, Sister Rosalyn was well-qualified academically and well-suited personally. She consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership ability in her enforcement of school policy, handling of conflict situations and setting goals for the future. She readily utilized problem solving skills with firmness and fairness. She was a dynamic person and had a great sense of being truly professional without losing the common touch. Sister Rosalyn worked to open lines of communication in every parish community and made great efforts to develop a sense of community among the faculty, based on prayer, religious growth and professional skill. She was successful because of her leadership qualities, dedication, caring and service, which were evidenced in her daily life. Her faith, joy and commitment to Catholic education set an example for all who knew her. She enjoyed making others, staff and students feel important and appreciated. Wherever she went, Sister fostered a positive, caring and spirited environment.

While as administrator, Sister kept herself and the staff updated in areas of current educational development and innovations. She attended many workshops including adult motivation, group dynamics, decision making and evaluations and school accreditation teams.

Sister Rosalyn volunteered to teach religious education classes to students attending the public school, on every mission assignment during both her teaching and administrative career. The classes were often held after the school day on Mondays or Wednesdays, on Saturday mornings and/or Sundays between Masses. Sister also taught religious education classes in summer vacation schools in Elcho, Pickerel, Abrams, Stiles, Woodruff and Tomahawk; St. Maryís, Waukesha; Annunciation, Green Bay; St. Paulís, Genesee Depot; St. Anthonyís, Pewaukee; and St. Maryís, Pewaukee. At these missions, Sister prepared students for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation. While on the summer assignments, Sister trained altar servers, made schedules for them, did special church linens and took time to visit the sick and infirm in local hospitals or in their homes. During these assignments, Sister was instrumental in bringing about a spirit of hope and faith to each person she met.

After many delightful years of teaching and administration, Sister Rosalyn was involved in the following: pastoral services to the local hospital and nursing homes, minister of hospitality, visiting new parishioners, prayer chain, transport patients to and from doctor appointments, St. Vincent de Paul, tutoring students on all grade levels, helping the poor and needy, Meals on Wheels and helping children to prepare for new school year by shopping for school supplies, etc.

Sister Rosalyn was involved in the reading clinic at Silver Lake College and had firsthand experience in the diagnosis of reading problems, conducted workshops at the University of Dayton on School Accreditation and initiated summer school workshops on creative writing, poetry, math/algebra, speed reading and computer education.

Sister enjoyed many hobbies, including playing guitar with the Family Singer (14 years) at St. Maryís in Waukesha, four years with the youth choir at St. Philip in Green Bay, playing piano and the organ, singing, hiking, playing tennis, volleyball, baseball and basketball, watching football, going to concerts, cooking, calligraphy, writing, poetry, reading and sewing.

Sister Rosalyn is survived by two brothers, John and Patrick; three sisters, Sister Mary James, Sister Timothy and Sister Rosemarie; and nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins and friends.

Sister Rosalyn was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, the Rev. James J. Geenen, Henry R. Jr., Joseph E. and William T. Geenen; and two sisters, Catherine Mary and Mary Marcella Geenen Fox.

Family and friends will be received from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, at Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates Funeral Home and Crematorium, 2355 Cranston Road, Beloit, with a prayer service at 6 p.m. Visitation continues from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral Mass of Christian burial Wednesday, May 20, at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 2222 Shopiere Road, Beloit, with the Rev. Gary Krahenbuhl officiating. Burial will be in St. Nicholas Cemetery in Freedom.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.daleymurphywisch.com.

Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates, (608) 362-3444, is serving the family.