News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 14, 2013

Sister Jeanne Knoerle


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TERRE HAUTE — Sister Jeanne Knoerle, 85, died on Monday morning, June 10, 2013, at the Woodland Inn, St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She was born on Feb. 24, 1928, in Lakewood, Ohio, to Harold M. Knoerle and Bernadine Seufert Knoerle, and was baptized Mary Jeanne.

Sister entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on July 22, 1949, and received the name Sister Mary Gregory. She professed Final Vows on Jan. 23, 1957. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, two master’s degrees from Indiana University, in journalism and in business, as well as a Ph.D. in comparative literature also from Indiana University. In her 63 years as a Sister of Providence, after teaching several years in high school, she joined the faculty of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. After earning a Ph.D. in comparative literature with an emphasis in Chinese literature, she was invited to be a visiting professor for one year at Providence College in Taiwan, an institution founded by the Sisters of Providence.  

On returning to the U.S., she served Saint Mary-of-the Woods College as assistant president and was named president in 1968, a position she held until 1983. During her presidency, she began the Women’s External Degree program, now transformed into Woods OnLine. After leaving the presidency and some time of rest, she returned to the college, where she served as Chancellor, overseeing endowment funding and the Woods Association. In 1988, she became program director for the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment.  

Leaving the directorship, she continued as consultant for five more years. In 2003, she took on the responsibility of Director of Residential Life and Services at the Motherhouse, serving her sisters with her excellent administrative skills. In 2008, she retired but continued on as a volunteer at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. She became an accomplished spinner of alpaca fiber and helped with the fiber program.  

She is survived by a sister, Anne Schram of Los Altos, Calif. She was preceded in death by a brother, Harold M. Knoerle Jr.

The wake is on Monday, June 17, 2013, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Church of the Immaculate Conception with the wake service at 4:30 p.m. The Mass of Christian burial is Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Daniel R. Hopcus presiding.  Burial is in the Cemetery of the Sisters of Providence. Callahan-DeBaun Funeral Home assisted with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Providence or Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.