Sr. Rita Marie Hickey, OSC
January 5, 1940 - January 25, 2023
Sr. Rita Marie Hickey, OSC passed away at Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center on January 25, 2023 following a lengthy illness. Sister was a member of the Order of St. Clare at St. Clare Monastery in New Orleans for almost 38 years. She was born in Teaneck, NJ. She grew up in Tenafly, NJ.
Sr. Rita began her religious life as a Sister of Charity of Convent Station, NJ. After coming South as a civil rights worker, she served for several years in Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama, as teacher and principal. After leaving the Sisters of Charity, she taught religion at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Alabama, and then served in the admissions office at Spring Hill College, also in Mobile.
Sr. Rita entered the New Orleans monastery in 1985. Sr. Rita served the community in many capacities over the years, as vocation director, formation director, Councilor, and sacristan. She was very creative, enjoyed cooking, gardening, making ceramics and ornaments for our gift shop, Sr. Rita was also active in an interfaith group that studied the Koran.
Sr. Rita's funeral Mass was held on February 4, 2023, followed by interment in the Mortuary Chapel on the monastery grounds. May she rest in peace.
Sr. Olivia Wassmer, OSC
April 17, 1930 - April 6, 2023
Our dear Sr. Olivia Wassmer died on Holy Thursday at the age of 92. She had also been born on a Holy Thursday, so she has come full circle. She was a member of the Order of St. Clare for 72 years. A native of Evansville, Indiana, Sister Olivia originally entered the monastery in Evansville and then transferred to New Orleans in 1970. She had been a resident of New Orleans for over 50 years.
Sister Olivia had a creative spirit and shared her talents in many ways, including running the Print Shop for many years, playing the organ for liturgy, serving as community bursar, archivist, photographer, and cake-maker. Sister was also a well-known artist who kept the monastery gift shop stocked with many items, especially her ornaments depicting scenes of New Orleans.
She had been in failing health for quite some time and was a resident of Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center since 2017. She continued to paint her ornaments at the nursing home until a year before she died. Her funeral Mass was celebrated in our monastery chapel on April 14; she is buried in our mortuary chapel. May she rest in peace.
On June 13, the feast of St. Anthony, we were treated to a special concert. Fr. Michael Burke, OP, one of our chaplains, came to the monastery with his friend Slava and his wife. Slava is a Ukranian violinist with the Louisiana Symphony Orchestra. Slava thanked us for the prayers that we had been offering for his family and for Ukraine. The concert featured Slava accompanied by his wife and by Fr. Michael on the piano. We were greatly blessed.
This year we were able to hold our St. Clare Mass in the monastery chapel for the first time since the pandemic; a reception followed in the hallway and refectory of the monastery.
On October 3, we attended an ecumenical Transitus service at Loyola University. Our Franciscan family (1st, 2nd, and 3rd orders) was well represented.
We are honored to have been chosen to host the relics of St. Anthony of Padua in our monastery chapel on December 5. About ten churches in the archdiocese will also participate. Fr. Mario, OFMConv, will accompany the relics. Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 A.M., followed by a talk on St. Anthony by Fr. Mario and veneration of the relics until 11:00 AM.