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 May 21, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Robert Goebel SJ

Jesuit Father Robert Goebel died April 7 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 89.

A vigil service was held Friday, April 17, in the Chapel of the Three Companions at Gonzaga Prep, Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated April 18 at St. Aloysius Church, Spokane. Burial was at Mt. St. Michael’s Cemetery.

The fifth of six children, Robert Anthony Goebel was born Nov. 12, 1925, in Seattle to Leo and Margaret (Katzer) Goebel. He grew up in Granite Falls, Wash., northwest of Everett. He graduated from Granite Falls High School in 1942, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 17th birthday. He proudly served from 1942-1947.

After his military duties he studied at Seattle University; to pay tuition and living expenses Bob worked as a waiter in upscale Seattle restaurants. In August 1950 he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Ore. He followed the regular course of Jesuit formation studies and teaching experiences and was ordained a priest on June 15, 1963, in Spokane.

From 1964-1970 Father Goebel taught and administered at Seattle Preparatory School, followed by 10 years of the same ministry at Gonzaga Prep. In 1980 Loyola Sacred Heart High School in Missoula, Mont., sought him out as their Principal for a four-year term. He returned to Gonzaga Prep in 1985 for 18 years and served the many alumni of the school as a chaplain and friend. From 2003-2008 he lent his talents to Bellarmine Preparatory, Tacoma.

A serious stroke and other health concerns brought him back to Spokane to join his brother Jesuits in their ministry of prayer for the Church and world.

As his health continued to decline and the Spokane Infirmary was slated for closure, it was decided to transfer Father Goebel to the Jesuit Infirmary in Los Gatos. When apprised of this impending move, he said to the Jesuit Provincial, “Send me where you need me to go. When I signed up for this life I promised to go wherever the Provincial decided. And that’s what I will do.”

Contributions in honor of Father Goebel may be sent to The Fr. Robert A. Goebel Scholarship Fund, c/o Gonzaga Preparatory School, 1224 E. Euclid Ave, Spokane, WA 99207; The Senior Jesuit 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.

Sister Bernice Wessels OSB

Benedictine Sister Bernice Wessels was born into eternal life on April 8 at her home, the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. She was 81 years old.

The rosary vigil was held April 13; the funeral Mass, April 14. Both took place in the monastery chapel.

She was born in Greencreek, Idaho, and knew by the time she was in first grade that she wanted to be a Sister. She made her First Profession at the age of 18 on Aug. 20, 1951.

“This seemed to be the place God wanted me to be and I’ve been very happy,” she said.

She graduated from St. Martin College (now University) in Lacey, Wash. in 1965 with a B.A. in education and a minor in Spanish. She spent two decades teaching in elementary schools, and then was sent to Cali, Colombia, to work in a parish founded by the Diocese of Boise. She spent three years as head of the religion program, conducting her ministry in Spanish.

She returned to the Diocese of Boise and was appointed by Bishop Sylvester Treinan as administrator of St. Anne Parish in Arco and St. Barbara Parish in Mackay, Idaho. She was the first woman to serve in this capacity in the United States. She also served as administrator of St. Catherine Parish in Hagerman and St. Anthony Parish in Wendell.

At the age of 60, Sister Bernice was sent to St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome to study canon law. She served in the diocesan tribunal in Boise for four years as a canon lawyer processing annulment requests. She eventually returned to pastoral work in Caldwell, Idaho, which included visiting homes, teaching children, and teaching literacy classes for Mexican women.

She left pastoral work in 1999 and after a respite, worked for 10 years at the Historical Museum of St. Gertrude as a museum technician. In 2011, she became the monastery librarian.

Memorial gifts in Sister Bernice’s honor can be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Rd., Cottonwood, Idaho, 83522.

Sister Ellen Joan (Josephine) Duffy SNJM

Holy Names Sister Ellen Joan Duffy died May 1 at Hospice House, Spokane. She was 87 years old.

The funeral Mass was celebrated May 9 at the Convent of the Holy Names, Spokane.

She was born in Spokane March 28, 1928, to James and Mary Elizabeth (Bradley) Duffy. She attended Holy Names Academy and, later, business college before entering the workplace at the American Automobile Association.

She entered the Holy Names Community in 1947 and made vows in 1949.

She taught in middle and upper grades before becoming an elementary school principal. She later became assistant superintendent of education for the Spokane Diocese.

She held a master’s degree from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and principal credentials from Gonzaga University.

After additional years spent in administration, she became a chaplain with a special affinity for the elderly. She returned to Spokane in 1997.

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

Sister Mary Noreena (Mary Kate) Carr SNJM

Holy Names Sister Noreena Carr died April 30 at Brookdale South Regal in Spokane. She was 93 years old.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Friday, May 15, at the Convent of the Holy Names, Spokane.

Mary Kate Carr was born in the family home in Seattle on June 23, 1921, to Bernard J. and Mary Byrne Carr.

The family belonged to St. John Parish, where Mary Kate finished elementary school. She graduated from Holy Names Academy in Seattle, and entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1939, pronouncing her vows in 1941 as Sister Mary Noreena. She earned a B.S. in Education from Marylhurst College, Oregon, an M.Ed. from Seattle University, and a PhD in Education from Arizona State University.

Sister Noreena’s teaching career began in 1941 in the middle and upper grades in Astoria, followed by assignments in St. Paul, Bend, The Dalles, Portland, Salem, and Oswego, Ore.; and Seattle, Spokane Tacoma, and Everett, Wash. In 1972, she taught in the Education Department at Gonzaga University before her year of study in Arizona in 1976. Upon her return to Spokane, she taught at Fort Wright College for two years before joining the faculty at Eastern Washington University. She continued as a full Professor at EWU until 1994, and stayed on as an adjunct professor for five more years.

In 1988, Sister Noreena visited schools in Australia and New Zealand to study their methods and programs in reading instruction, a visit she found most interesting, and which impacted her own teaching. In her semi-retirement, she continued to use her skills in the teaching of reading by tutoring children at Trinity School.

She was a member of the Board of Examiners of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and a member of the Professional Standards Committee for International Reading, as well as several other boards and committees. She received the President’s Award from the Washington Organization for Reading Development, and was inducted into the WORD Hall of Fame. She was named Professor Emerita of EWU in 1996, formally concluding 55 years of active teaching.

Sister Noreena was also a responsible citizen of her country and of her local neighborhood, contributing to the Logan Neighborhood Assembly, Spokane, for several years, and encouraging others to join those efforts.

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

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