Vita of Sr. Norbertine Loshe
1915 – 2015
Mary Helen Loshe was one of the six children of Henry Frank and Mary Ida Moeder Loshe, a name originally spelled as Lothschutz. She was born October 3, 1915, at St. Anthony, Padua, Ohio, and grew up with her sister and brothers on a farm northwest of Coldwater. Her elementary years were spent in St. Anthony’s one-room school three miles from home. She and the other students, no matter the weather, got there almost always on foot, but sometimes she said, the neighbor picked them up with his horses and his mudboat used as a sleigh. When it was time for high school, however, a group banded together and drove daily to Immaculate Conception High School in Celina and Helen went there two nice years as she had put it. She left ICHS and spent the final two years of high school at St. Francis Convent School in Tiffin about two hours away.
How did that happen? Harold, a brother to her neighbor, Theresa Diller, was about to be ordained a Precious Blood priest. His classmate, Carl Nieset, had a sister who was a Sister of St. Francis in Tiffin, Sister Margaret. That was Helen and Theresa’s first time of hearing about the Tiffin Franciscans, but that fall, both girls were aspirants to religious life, attending the newly-opened St. Francis Convent School and meeting the Sisters for the first time.
Two years later, on August 12, 1936, Helen became one of the Sisters. She received the habit of the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio, and the new name, Sister Mary Norbertine. After a novitiate of two years, on August 22, 1938, she made profession of vows. Final profession was on the same date in 1941. Two years younger than Helen, Theresa had become Sister Mary Adela the day Sister Norbertine had made her First Profession of vows. Both had brothers who were Precious Blood priests.
Like her great-grandfather and two aunts and two uncles before her, Sister Norbertine would become a teacher. She attended DeSales College in Toledo for two years, and then in 1941 began her teaching career, taking courses for her B.A. at Mary Manse College in Toledo during the summers. Perseverance paid off. She finally completed her degree work in 1959 and got her diploma. Her school work and the help of her fellow teachers had helped prepare her for her 42 years as a teacher, 18 of them at Fort Jennings.
While Sister Norbertine had taught students in grades one through six in the elementary schools at Landeck, Fort Jennings, Edgerton, St. Sebastian, New Washington, and Reed, almost all her years were spent in the primary grades. She always enjoyed the little ones the best and had said she was happiest when she was assigned to the first grade and that her favorite subject to teach was reading. Sister Norbertine retired from the classroom in
1983, but she remained in Fort Jennings, the first three years as Coordinator of Elementary CCD at St. Joseph Parish there, and then, until 1995, served as a pastoral presence at the parish.
Family meant a lot to her, though, which is evidenced by her desire to spend her waning years in their midst. In 1996 she moved to the Saint Charles Senior Living Community of the Precious Blood Fathers and Brothers at Carthagena and was there two years, serving as one of the community’s special praying members. She had returned to Tiffin for a number of years, but after her brother, Precious Blood Father Norbert died in 2005, she moved to Briarwood Manor in Coldwater to be nearer her sister, Mildred, and her brother, Bernard, who were living there. Again she served as one of the community’s special praying members. In 2012, the year after her last sibling had died, Sister Norbertine moved back to Tiffin and resided at St. Francis Home where she died Saturday evening, January 3. She was 99 and 3.1 months old.
Sister Norbertine was preceded in death by her parents, her four brothers: Precious Blood Father Norbert, Aloys, Werner, and Bernard; and her sister and brother-in-law, Mildred and August Dues. She is survived by six nephews and three nieces and their spouses, by her many great-nieces and great-nephews and their spouses, and by even more great-grand-nieces and -nephews, all descendants of Mildred and August.
Sister Norbertine was generally a quiet person but could speak for hours, literally – if she had a listener – on topics of special interest to her such as her family genealogy. That was one of her favorite hobbies and she was delighted when, in researching her own family history, she would come upon a surprise relationship with a relative of one of the Sisters. One of the surprises she already had had was when she first came to the convent school and discovered that a maternal great-uncle was one of the residents of St. Francis Home and that a first cousin once-removed, Sister Mary Fidelis, a Mercy Sister, was stationed at Mercy Hospital, a first cousin her mother had never before met.
Sister Norbertine enjoyed tatting, needlework, doing craft projects, reading, cooking, and had ample opportunities for volunteering after she left her post as CCD coordinator at Fort Jennings. When she retired, she had hoped to have enough to do to keep her from missing the children too much. After she started volunteering, though, she had said she never knew from morning to night what she was going to be doing.
Now we know that one of the things she will be doing in heaven is looking out for her family still here on earth and for her Tiffin Franciscan family, one that she had been part of for almost 80 years. We will miss her smile and will remember all the many things that made her a very special part of all our lives. Eternal rest be upon you, Sister Norbertine!