Sister Rita's Story
Sister Rita Lerner died at 3:11 p.m. on March 25, 2017, in Mother Theodore Hall, St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She was born Dec. 5, 1919 in Chicago, to Edward and Clara Hell Lerner and was baptized Rita Clara.
Sister entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on Jan. 8, 1938, and was given the name Sr. Edward Clare. She professed Final Vows on Aug. 15, 1946. She earned a bachelor's degree from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master's degree from Ball State University. Of her 79 years as a Sister of Providence, she ministered for 43 years in elementary schools in Indiana, California, Washington, DC and Illinois. In 1983 she returned to the Motherhouse, where she served as a nurses' aide both in health care and in outpatient care. In 1990, she formally retired but continued to contribute to community life in a variety of ways, including helping with activities and serving as librarian. Beginning in 2006, she committed herself totally to the ministry of prayer.
Sister Rita had a generous and compassionate heart. She loved to serve others and did so with cheerfulness and love. In turn, she always showed gratitude for services rendered to her.
Sister is survived by nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by a brother, Edward Lerner; and two stepsisters, Dorothy Sowa and Clare Werhand.
The wake is Wednesday, April 5, 2017, from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m. in the Church of the Immaculate Conception with the wake service at 4:30 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial is Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 11 a.m. with the Rev, Daniel R. Hopcus presiding. Burial is in the cemetery of the Sisters of Providence. DeBaun Funeral Homes and Crematory assisted with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Providence, 1 Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876.
Published on March 31, 2017