Sister Mary David (Felicia) OlheiserThe Mass of Christian burial for Sister Mary David (Felicia) Olheiser, St. Joseph, Minn., is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph.
The Mass of Christian burial for Sister Mary David (Felicia) Olheiser, St. Joseph, Minn., is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph.
Sister Mary David died Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Saint Scholastica Convent. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery.
Friends may call at Saint Scholastica Convent on Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. or for a vigil prayer service at 7 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Saturday.
Felicia, the third of five children, was born on Jan. 18, 1918, to Rudolph and Magdalen (Goetz) Olheiser in Dickinson and attended St. Joseph’s School there. Saint Benedict’s High School in St. Joseph, Minn., followed.
She entered St. Benedict’s Monastery in 1931, was received into the novitiate on June 18, 1935, and became Sister Mary David. Then came first monastic profession on July 11, 1936, and perpetual profession on July 11, 1939. Her golden jubilee in 1986 and diamond in 2011 were great celebrations.
Sister Mary David’s career in education began with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and a minor in political science at Holy Name College, Spokane, Wash. At St. Louis (Mo.) University, she earned a Master of Arts degree in research and educational psychology, and at Boston College, Mass., a Master of Arts in educational psychology and administration.
In 1976 she was awarded an M.Ch.A. degree in church administration at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Continuing studies here, she earned a licentiate in canon law, J.C.L., in May 1977, and in 1979 a J.C.D. (canon law for religious institutes and marriage tribunals).
Earlier in her career she attended Diocesan Teachers’ College in St Paul, Minn.; College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn.; Seattle University; University of Minnesota; Marquette University; and Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.
Education as a life work began for S. Mary David in Holy Rosary School in Tacoma, Wash., and continued for 20 years in the education department of the College of St. Benedict. She was joint chair of the department for 10 years (1962-72) and academic dean at the College of St. Benedict for two years (1972-74). In 1986, she was cited as Professor Emerita of Education by the Board of Trustees.
When no longer in education, Sister Mary David still led a very active life. She coordinated the Sesquimillenium Region VI celebration in 1980. She served on the Marriage Tribunal in the St. Cloud Diocesan Chancery from 1980 until her retirement in 1997. The marriage tribunals in the New Ulm Diocese and the Archdiocese of St. Paul also requested her services.
Lectures and workshops on marriage and annulments were often on her agenda.
Sister Mary David served on the College Board of Trustees as chair and executive secretary; for a time she volunteered her services at the College of St. Benedict Archives. At St. Benedict’s Monastery Archives she offered her expertise for research. In 1991, Bishop Jerome Hanus, O.S.B., appointed her as consultant to the Carmelite Hermits of Adoration in Alexandria, Minn.
From 2003-09, she was the director of Eremitical Life in the St. Cloud Diocese.
Sister Mary David is survived by the sisters in her Benedictine community, her brother, James, and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by brothers, David and Francis, and sisters, Ramona Ehli, Margaret Herzog, Florence Lenhardt and Mary Catherine Christie.
Please direct memorial gifts to the care of the elderly Sisters of St. Benedict’s Monastery.