first_imgSr. Mary Catherine Eschenbach, age 93 of the Srs. of St. Francis in Oldenburg, died Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the convent.  Born February 15, 1923 in Indianapolis, she is the daughter of Cecilia (Nee: Johantgen) and Carl Eschenbach Sr.Sr. Mary Catherine entered the convent September 8, 1939 and made her final vows August 12, 1945.  She was a teacher, principal and a missionary in Papua New Guinea.  Schools included St. Louis in Batesville, St. Frances de Sales and St. Michael’s in Indianapolis, St. Lawrence in St. Lawrenceburg, Indiana, St. Vincent de Paul in Bedford, Indiana, St. Ann’s in Hamilton, Ohio, St. Anthony’s in Streator, Illinois, Immaculate Conception in Old Monroe, Missouri as well as 15 years in Papua New Guinea before retiring to the Motherhouse in 1998.Attending St. Catherine’s and St. Mary’s Academy in Indianapolis, she was taught by the sisters of Oldenburg.  One of the sisters she met was instrumental in her choice to enter religious life.  After her sophomore year, she entered the novitiate program at Oldenburg.  In her first year as a novice, her father died and her mother was the expecting the families’ seventh child.  Sr. Mary Catherine offered to abandon her religious calling and return home to help with the family.  Her mother said, “Stay and pray, we’ll make it.”A dedicated teacher, she taught for 20 years, teaching almost every grade and then spent 20 years as a principal.  In 1960 the first group of sisters left for Papua New Guinea.  While she too wanted to minister in this foreign land, she stayed stateside for her aging mother.  After many years, she still felt the desire to go, so she asked her mother’s permission.  Mom’s answer was, “Go, I’ll visit you.”  And she did at age 86!In her words, “I was a pilgrim in a foreign land, teaching at the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, the Teacher’s College, two seminaries and with the Capuchin Brothers.  I’ve gone where there was a need.  All my life has been a challenge and I’ve enjoyed the challenges.  I’ve been happy and enjoyed the journey as I walked trustfully with the Lord.”Sr. Mary Catherine is survived by her sisters Angela Kriese and Leanore Cox, both of Indianapolis as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by sisters Mildred Rambow, Florence Eschenbach, Carlann Richardson and brother Carl Eschenbach Jr.Visitation is Wednesday, February 15th, from 1 – 3 p.m. at the convent chapel.  Funeral services follow at 3 p.m. with Rev. Bob Weakley officiating.  Burial will be in the convent cemetery.  Memorials may be made to the Srs. of St. Francis, P.O. Box 100, Oldenburg, IN, 47036 (www.OldenburgFranciscans.org).  Weigel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.last_img

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