Sister Anthony Rottinghaus
A Woman of Great Design
Dancing, singing, teaching and decorating her way into heaven, Sister Anthony Rottinghaus had many years to develop her creative and playful spirit and to share good times with family, friends, students and parishioners. Whether preparing children to be altar servers, readers and cantors or making the environment of church or dining room fit the season or feast, Sister Anthony was most happy when her ministry reflected her personal gifts.
One of 10 children born to Joseph and Catherine (Gudenkauf) Rottinghaus, Frances Helen was born in Seneca, Kansas, on August 29, 1925. From an early age, she learned to do her part in farm chores, home making, family fun and family prayer.
“Every night after supper our family prayed the rosary, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary and three Hail Marys for at least one religious vocation from the family,” comments Sister Mary Rosanne Rottinghaus, Sister Anthony’s sister.
Her brother Ray recalled that Sister Anthony would pitch in with any type of work on the farm. “One time when we were putting the car in the barn, Frances lifted the board from the barn door and accidentally hit herself on the corner of her face.” To Ray, the lifelong scar was a reminder that she wasn’t afraid of hard work.
After graduating from St. Patrick High School in Dougherty, Iowa, Frances entered the Sisters of the Presentation in June 1944 and professed perpetual vows on May 16, 1950. She received her bachelor’s degree from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa. Her Presentation journey, spanning 53 years, took her to Lawler, Ryan, Farley, Elkader, Clare, Algona, Key West, Waukon, and Charles City, all in Iowa; Monticello and St. Paul, Minnesota; and Winner, South Dakota. She ministered as a music teacher, parish liturgist, pastoral minister and liturgy coordinator.
“Sister was a hard worker, but liked to have a good time, too,” recounts Sister Mary Sheila Kane. “Sister loved music and could she ever dance! I was most impressed by her Rottinghaus hallmark of hospitality.”
Bringing her talents for design and organization, Sister Anthony put her special touch into everything. “Sister loved preparing the large Advent wreath for Holy Trinity Church in South St. Paul,” recalls Sister Damian O’Brien. “I was so honored and most grateful for the beautiful parish banquet that sister planned at the parish for my 60th Jubilee.”
Nieces and nephews reminisced how Sisters Anthony, Rosanne and Michael would invite everyone to sing in the car on longer trips, at picnics and family gatherings.
Traveling together was one of many special shared experiences for Sisters Anthony, Rosanne and Michael. “When we visited our nephew Larry who worked at the Pentagon, we toured D.C. from morning to night with his car,” remembers Sister Rosanne. “Sister Anthony did the driving; I did the navigating and Sister Michael did the praying!”
Sisters Rosanne and Anthony had a special journey before retiring. “Our trip to the Holy Land was most outstanding,” says Sister Rosanne, “especially making the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem and going in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with the tour group to pray and meditate about fishing with St. Peter.”
In her retirement years, Sister Anthony continued to enjoy community life, making pies, entertaining sisters and other company and enjoying living with her two siblings. “She treasured our praying together and making a holy hour daily,” shares Sister Rosanne. “She really enjoyed the time we could spend reviewing memories on the missions and fun times in community.”
Keeping vigil with a dying sister is a special Presentation tradition. “In Sister Anthony’s last days, friends, family and nurses would discover her rosary in her pocket, chair or in her bed. Sometimes they would uncover two rosaries,” comments Sister Elena Hoye. “The mere touch of the sacred beads brought her closer to God. Whether she was wrapped in music, in good health and humor, or when she was typing, the presence of God was just a touch away.”
If you would like to make a memorial gift in memory of Sister Anthony, click here.