Sister Darlene Wessling



Memorial Contribution

Franciscan Life Process Center

11650 Downes St.

Lowell, MI 49331

Sister Darlene Wessling, FSE entered eternal life Sunday morning, January 28 as her Sisters of the Lowell Community and Mother Miriam Seiferman, Mother General, surrounded her with prayer and loving vigilance. Sister Darlene had lived valiantly with a serious heart condition for several years and was admitted to hospice care last week. With an upbeat and positive attitude, trusting in God’s providence, she was an inspiration to her Sisters as she prepared to meet Christ, her Spouse, after a full life as a consecrated religious woman in community.

Sister Darlene was a vibrant and stalwart member of the Lowell center for the past 44 years. An accomplished social worker specializing in gerontology, she served the needs of elderly persons through her work with agencies in west central Michigan. For seven years she worked directly with hospice patients to help them and their families prepare for their final journey. The past few years, Sister Darlene joined the pastoral team at St. Robert of Newminster Parish in nearby Ada, Michigan, where her social work skills and years of experience came to flowering within a faith context as she visited elderly members of the parish, often being at their side as they entered eternal life.

A true Iowan at heart, Sister Darlene, daughter of Hugo and Hedwig Wessling, grew up on her family farms in Dedham and Westside, Iowa, with her siblings Roselyn, George and John. She graduated from Kuemper Catholic High School, Carroll, where she played percussion in the band and orchestra, specializing in snare drum. During her freshman year, with her mother’s sudden death, she helped her father manage the tasks of the family home. She became an expert pie maker and bread baker. Sister Darlene’s farm experience as a youth was a natural fit for living on the Sisters’ farm in Lowell. Sister Darlene has been the point person for the care of the Community’s beef cattle. For several years, she was the main baker at Franciscan Heritage Foods, the Community’s bakery in Ada that offered fresh-baked heritage breads five days a week.

Sister Darlene entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she was known as Sister Mary Hugh. In 1973 she became a founding member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. She professed perpetual vows on May 20, 1974. During the same year she was the first teacher at the Sisters’ new pre-school at the Lowell farm.

Sister Darlene received a Bachelor of Science in home economics with a minor in biology from Viterbo College (now University); a Master of Arts from Wayne State University in family and consumer resources; and a Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University. She also earned a Specialist Certificate in Gerontology awarded by the Institute of Gerontology of the University of Michigan and Wayne State. In 2006 she became certified in Catholic Bioethics by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Sister Darlene is survived by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist, her brother George Wessling and his wife Phyllis of Garner, Iowa, her brother John and his wife Susan of Carroll, Iowa, her brother-in-law Leo Seidl of Joplin, Missouri, and several nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents and sister Roselyn Seidel.

The wake will be held at Franciscan Life Process Center, 11650 Downes Street, Lowell, on Friday, February 2, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The rosary will be prayed at 6:00 p.m. Visitation will also be held on Saturday, February 3 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at St. Robert of Newminster Church,  Ada, MI.  The Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00, followed by a luncheon in the parish hall. Burial will take place at 3:00 p.m. at the Franciscan Cemetery, 11761 Downes Street, Lowell.

Memorials can be made to the Franciscan Life Process Center in Lowell, MI.

Arrangements are under the direction of Sister Patricia Glass, FSE, in collaboration with Roth-Gerst Funeral Home of Lowell. Sister Frances Zajac, FSE is assisting.

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