Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


the Inland Register

(From the March 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Sister Phyllis Marie (Marion Robert) Taufen SNJM

Holy Names Sister Phyllis Marie Taufen died Feb. 13 at Hospice House in Spokane. She had been a member of her Religious community for 66 of her 90 years.

The vigil service was Feb. 19 at the Convent of the Holy Names, Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day.

She was born Sept. 11, 1924, in Colton, Wash. She attended St. Boniface School, Uniontown, for 12 years. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Holy Names College in Spokane and a master’s degree in English from Gonzaga University.

In 1948 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names, pronouncing her vows in 1950.

Professionally, she began as an eighth grade teacher at St. Mary School in Medford, Ore., followed by years at St. Joseph, Seattle; St. Vincent, Salem, Ore.; and St. Aloysius, Spokane. In addition to teaching, she served as principal of St. Francis Cabrini, Tacoma, and Cataldo, Spokane.

In 1981 she began teaching at Gonzaga University, where she rose to the level of professor in the English department, teacher in the School of Business, coordinator of Lower Division English, and director of the University Writing Lab. She was a seminar presenter for a variety of business, civic and educational groups. In 1988 colleagues and students named her Teacher of the Year. She was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate, bestowed by Gonzaga, in honor of her contributions to the field of education.

Sister Phyllis was co-author of the book Loving Your Work Everafter.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, 2911 W. Fort Wright Drive, Spokane, WA 99224.

Sister Mary Bridget (M. Bridget Ann) Ward SNJM

Holy Names Sister Mary Bridget Ward died Feb. 23 at Harbor Crest Senior Living Community in Spokane. She was 90 years old; she had been a member of her Religious community for more than 64 years.

The funeral Mass was celebrated March 2 at the Convent of the Holy Names in Spokane.

Mary Bridget Ward was born in Seattle July 12, 1924, to Irish immigrants Thomas and Agnes O’Brien Ward. She graduated from St. Benedict Elementary School and Lincoln High School before attending Seattle College. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from Marylhurst College in Oregon and an M.A. in Guidance from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Before entering Religious life, she worked as a comptometer operator and as an assistant at the bookstore at Seattle University.

She joined the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1950, pronouncing her vows in 1952 as Sister M. Bridget Ann.

She taught in secondary schools operated by the Holy Names Sisters in Portland and Astoria, Ore., and in Seattle and Spokane. She moved to teaching at the college level in 1971 at Fort Wright College in Spokane, then to Campus Ministry at Eastern Washington State University in Cheney in 1977.

By 1981, she was working as a parish minister in the Outreach Program at All Saints Parish in Puyallup, Wash. In 1990, she offered her services in Jonestown, Miss., with other members of her Religious community, a ministry she enjoyed until 1995, when she returned to Spokane to be available as a counsellor in the intercommunity ministry of Transitions, especially Miryam’s House and Women’s Hearth.

Although her ability to be as active physically waned over the last years, her spirit never did, and she visited the women at the Hearth even in the last weeks of her life. When she was unable to be present to them face to face, she was busy inviting others to collect needed items for the women.

When asked to name her special interests, she said, “people.” When asked about her skills, she said, “people.”

Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, 2911 W. Fort Wright Drive, Spokane, WA 99224.

David John Kuttner

David John Kuttner, the father of Father David Kuttner, a priest of the Spokane Diocese, died Feb. 28. He was 75 years old.

The vigil service was March 6 at St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane.

David Kuttner was born in Spokane May 11, 1939. He attended St. Francis of Assisi School and Gonzaga Prep.

He married “the girl next door,” Bernadine Murphy, in 1968.

He worked for 40 years in the auto and truck parts industry. He retired in 2004.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, attended Mass daily, and devoted much of his life helping the needy, including support for construction of an orphanage and elementary school in Tanzania. He loved woodworking and carpentry, and built furniture used in the sanctuary of St. Thomas More Church, Spokane.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Bernadine Murphy Kuttner; sons: Father David and Kevin (Patti) of Spokane; daughter, Katie Kuttner Morgan (Patrick) of McCall, Idaho; and sisters Kathy Kuttner Hetherington (Gary) of Portland, Ore., and Molly Kuttner Goldstein (Bill) of Los Angeles, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

Donations in Dave’s name can be made to the Tanzania Fund of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court #196, 5418 W. Shawnee Ave., Spokane, WA 99208.

Sister Marilyn Kruse OP

Sister Marilyn Kruse of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa died March 7 at St. Dominic Villa in Sinsinawa, Wis.

The funeral Mass was celebrated in the Gathering Place at Sinsinawa March 10, 2015, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane.

She was born Dec. 26, 1919, in Mt. Angel, Ore., the daughter of Joseph and Catherine (May) Kruse.

Sister Marilyn made her first Religious profession with the Poor School Sisters of St. Dominic of Speyer, Germany, at Kettle Falls, Wash., June 7, 1962, and her final profession Aug. 14, 1967. The congregation members at Kettle Falls became the Dominican Sisters of Spokane in 1986. They merged with the Sinsinawa Dominicans in 1995.

Sister Marilyn ministered as a registered nurse for 10 years, pastoral minister for 19 years, hospice visitor for three years, tutor for 10 years, and volunteer for four years. She served in Montana, Washington and Wisconsin.

In the Diocese of Spokane, Sister Marilyn ministered at Mt. Carmel Hospital, Colville, as a nurse, 1970-1972, and as a pastoral assistant, 1982-1983. In Spokane, her ministries included pastoral care at Holy Family Hospital, 1972-1979; visitor at Hospice Maran Atha and the Veteran’s Hospital, as well as house coordinator for Provincialate Convent, 1979-1982; parish visitor at Pure Heart of Mary Parish, 1983-1986; tutor (1987-1997) and parish visitor (1989-1997) at St. Patrick Grade School and Parish; and volunteer at the Dominican Center, 1997-2001.

Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or online at by clicking on “Donate Now,” then “Honor and Memorial Gift.”

Father Gerard G. Steckler SJ

Jesuit Father Gerard G. Steckler died March 5, 2015 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Infirmary, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 87.

A rosary service was held Friday, March 13, in the Jesuit House Chapel on the Gonzaga University campus. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the following morning. Burial followed at Mt. St. Michaels Cemetery, Spokane.

The eldest of five siblings, Gerard George Steckler was born on April 17, 1927, in Minneapolis, Minn., to George and Cecilia Steckler. The family soon moved westward through North Dakota and ultimately settled in Yakima, Wash., where he graduated from Marquette High School in 1944. Later that summer he entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, Ore.

After the regular course of formation studies and teaching experience he was sent to Louvain, Belgium, for his theological studies, where he was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 10, 1957.

He later attended the University of Washington, where he completed a doctorate in history in 1963. He embarked on a well-received career teaching at Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Gannon College (Erie, Pa.), and Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, Calif.).

An outstanding professor of history and a dedicated pastor, Father Steckler was noted for enticing his students to excel as well as nourishing and strengthening the faith life of many people. A man of direct words and comments in and out of the classroom, he also knew how to reach those who were vulnerable and help move them to greater confidence in themselves.

Sensing 30 years in the classroom was sufficient, Father Steckler shifted his energies to pastoral duties: first as a chaplain to the Benedictine and Franciscan Religious communities on Shaw Island, Wash., and then to St. Joseph Church, Dime Box, Texas. His last 15 years of parish ministry were spent at St. Anthony Church in Waldport, Ore.

Declining health brought him to the Regis Community in Spokane in 2011. A final move, to Los Gatos, Calif., was completed just days before his death.

He is survived by his brother Bernie (Joyce) and his sister Joan (Jerry) Marsh, as well as his Jesuit brothers.

Contributions in honor of Father Steckler may be sent to The Senior Fund, c/o The Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

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