In Memoriam: Sister Theresita Schenk

Sister Theresita Schenk, 100, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana died at 12:25 p.m. on April 7, 2021, at the monastery.

Sister Theresita was born Imelda Schenk on June 27, 1920 in St. Philip, Indiana, the eldest of three children of Frank and Margaret (Deig) Schenk. She entered the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand in 1938 from St. Philip Parish and made her monastic vows in 1940.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister and brother-in-law, Bernadette and Charles Montgomery, and her brother, Paul. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Wilma (Humpert) Schenk and her religious family.

Sister Theresita held a bachelor’s degree in music from St. Benedict College and a Master of Music Education from Indiana University. She also received a Certificate in Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality from Holy Names College, studied Music Composition at Catholic University of America, and was a PhD Candidate at Indiana University.

She taught music in Evansville at St. Benedict School and Christ the King School; at Academy Immaculate Conception, Marian Heights Academy, and St. Benedict College in Ferdinand; at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Haubstadt, IN; at St. Scholastica College in Duluth, MN; and at Vincennes University in Jasper, IN.

Sister Theresita served in Music Ministry as Liturgist Composer, Coordinator of Liturgical Music, Composer of Liturgical Music, and Organist with the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand. She also served as Director of Alumnae for Marian Heights Academy in Ferdinand. She most recently served in Prayer Ministry in Hildegard Health Center in Ferdinand.

Following Vatican II, when Mass changed from Latin to English, Sister Theresita took on the task of translating liturgical music from Latin into English, also adjusting the music to fit the timing of the English translation. It was an enormous undertaking, and her translated versions were widely adopted all across the United States.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 11 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Alumnae Center. Social distancing and masks will be required. Funeral Mass followed by burial in the monastery cemetery will be on Monday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, funeral will be private for family and community members only.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand.