Ever since two members of St. Joseph Academy’s first graduating class in 1899 went on to become Adrian Dominican Sisters (Sisters Cornelia Cassidy and Magdalen Marie Weber), the Academy was for many years a steady source of vocations for the Congregation. One of those “Academy girls” was Mary Catherine Koenig, who became Sister Carol Denise.
Mary Catherine was born on February 3, 1933, in Ottoville, Ohio, to Carl and Elizabeth (Landwehr) Koenig. Due to a heavy snowstorm that day, the doctor and nurse came to the home for the birth rather than having Carl and Elizabeth try to make it to the hospital.
Elizabeth had already had several miscarriages, and when her newest baby was born it looked for a time like a stillbirth. But the nurse noticed a small pulse, and “with a lot of work” on the doctor’s and nurse’s part, “I became a member of the living,” Sister Carol Denise wrote in her autobiography. She was named Mary Catherine because her mother had promised the Blessed Mother that if she had a girl, she would name her after Mary. The “Catherine” part of the name was for Elizabeth’s mother.
The Koenigs owned a farm at the time, but once the Great Depression hit especially hard the family lost the farm and Carl went to work at larger farms that were managing to make it through those years. A large garden and orchard, which Elizabeth tended, kept the family in plenty of vegetables and fruit.
Read more about Sister Carol Denise (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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