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Sister Dorothy McCormick 

An Essence of Kindness

Sister Mary Dorothy McCormick, born in Waukon, Iowa, to Edward and Rose (Heim) McCormick on September 8, 1925, one of 11 children, was baptized Loretta Rose. She entered the Sisters of the Presentation on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, September 8, 1945, her 18th birthday.

Sister Dorothy received her bachelor’s degree in education from Loras College, Dubuque, and a master’s degree from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. Blessed with a life span of 88 years, Sister Dorothy spent 70 of those years with the Presentation sisters. She served as teacher and/or principal in 12 different elementary schools in Iowa, Minnesota and San Antonio, Texas.

Sister Dorothy was recognized, in and beyond the community, for her exceptional teaching skills. Following the notice of her death, one student wrote to say that she had Sister Dorothy to thank for her love of reading – a lifetime gift. Parents, students and fellow teachers admired her competency and educational leadership. She was equally effective as an administrator. Little more than five feet tall, she was not intimidated by either the size or the bravado of a pastor, maintenance person or other official. Guided by her lofty principles and goals, she forged ahead to achieve the necessary services a student needed or to offer support for a just cause.

Sister Dorothy could be described as a model religious – always in the right place at the right time, a hard worker in her classroom and in community, but never calling attention to herself. She seemed to live the maxim, set forth as an ideal by St. Francis de Sales: “Ask nothing; refuse nothing.” Or what Mother Teresa would later prescribe: “Do little things with great love.”

As in any living/working situation, the circumstances and conditions are often less than ideal, but Sister Dorothy never complained: about her teaching assignments, even when her student roster had 50 names, or her convent duties if they demanded extra hours or when the decision was made that her classroom would be relegated to the basement floor.

Even-tempered, pleasant, hospitable, gentle and the essence of kindness, Sister Dorothy went about her duties in a quiet, unassuming manner, accepting responsibility, responding with graciousness and good cheer.

In her pre-retirement years, Sister Dorothy continued to share her leadership beyond the classroom, serving as chairperson of the Northeast Iowa’s Community Action Program in Waukon, Iowa. Here she was instrumental in the startup of a meal program, complete with transportation to the meal site for senior citizens.

Following her 51 years of active ministry, Sister Dorothy retired to Mount Loretto in 1997, where she modeled volunteerism, offering service in seven different ministries before she experienced failing health and memory decline. The virtues she practiced throughout her ministry years were apparent again in her later years in Nagle Center: the same patience, acceptance, graciousness, kindness and good cheer. Sister Dorothy offered an example worth imitating! May her reward be great in Heaven.

If you would like to make a memorial gift in memory of Sister Dorothy, click here.

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