Sister Francesca Presseller
Generous, Happy Spirit
In retirement at Mount Loretto since 1999, Sister Francesca Presseller is grateful that she is physically able to do the things she does and believes it is her faith that allows her to continue to be active at the age of 90.
Born in Robbinsdale and raised in Monticello, Minnesota, Sister Francesca was the 10th child in a family of 13. She and her siblings are first generation Americans; her parents both emigrated from Hungary. Sister became interested in the Sisters of the Presentation because of the School of Religion in Monticello, run by Sister Eunice Kane. In addition, Sister Francesca’s sister, Elizabeth, had entered shortly before Francesca. Joining the congregation in 1948 at age 27, Sister Francesca began a life of teaching that started and ended in Mason City, Iowa. Her teaching career included assignments in Clare, Monona, Algona, Elkader, Epworth, Iowa; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Chicago and Oregon, Illinois. She also served for two years at Mount Loretto as retirement director.
Of great significance to Sister Francesca from her years of teaching were the relationships she built with other teachers and especially with the people of St. Dorothy School in Chicago and the Presentation Lantern Center in Dubuque.
“I am grateful for the children whose lives I was fortunate to touch,” comments Sister. “I approached each new assignment head-on. What was there, you did. I always took people as they were. If something was not to my liking, I considered that my problem, not theirs.”
Sister Catherine Wingert noted this about Sister’s years of teaching, “I believe that Sister Francesca taught, not only from books, but she taught the presence of God in all of nature and each person.”
In her retirement, those attitudes and relationships continue. Her friend, Sister Rene Laubenthal, says of Sister Francesca, “She has an abundance of common sense and a generous, happy spirit. She can sing most any song and name most any bird.” Her days at Mount Loretto are spent at the switchboard for five hours a week and she often fills in for vacations and weekends. She has settled most happily into a hobby of playing cards, playing at least three nights a week. The card games are lively and fun and, according to Sister Francesca, involve a fair share of “required grumping and complaining” – for fun, of course! Sister also loves to read mystery novels in her spare time.
Throughout her entire life one constant for Sister has been her love for her community of Presentation sisters. “To me community is everything,” says Sister Francesca. “Community is life-giving.” Well said from one who has spent her years giving life and love to all around her.