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Sister Therese Marie Hawes

Presentation Little Flower

Sister Therese Marie Hawes, the first born daughter of Jack and Ellen Hawes of Wexford, Iowa, had just celebrated her 17th birthday when she joined the Sisters of the Presentation in Dubuque on September 8, 1949. Sister Therese Marie was winsomely petite, but as Sister Joan Lickteig described her, “the most energetic dynamo of our entire novitiate.”

Sister Joan goes on to entitle her: “This ‘Presentation Little Flower’ served the community in nearly every available ministry of the time: teacher, principal, formation director for the temporary professed sisters, Bolivian missionary for 32 years, as well as community prayer and service.”

Sisters Julianne Brockamp and Therese Marie Hawes joined the Presentation mission in Entre Ríos, Bolivia, in 1974. They studied Spanish at the Maryknoll Language School in Cochabamba and lived community life with the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. The Dubuque priests at San Raphael Parish were friends and missionary mentors.

Sister Therese Marie is well remembered for the courses she imparted in the Academia de la Presentación. She taught macramé and calligraphy, adding to the classes of typing, sewing and machine embroidery.

Sister Julianne describes Sister Therese Marie as a “faithful friend with whom I lived and worked for 17 years … I was continually inspired by her love for the campesinos (farmers) in the 140 rural communities in our San Luis Parish. Pope Francis would have loved Sister Therese Marie as he urged missionary disciples to go out to the peripheries and be friends with those suffering injustice and all kinds of misery. She loved a challenge whether it be in the kitchen, crossing rivers, learning to drive the Jeep on the mountain roads, developing film in a make-shift darkroom or doing scientific experiments to preserve marmalade made from the local peach crop.”

Sister Jo Anne Leo, OP, a Sinsinawa Dominican friend, notes, “Each time that I went to Entre Ríos, I noticed that Sister Therese Marie went to bed in the middle of the night and arose early to get in line at the market to buy meat. She visited with the people at the door and knew relationships for at least three generations.”

Sister Rita Menart recalls the arrival of a diminutive, elderly feminine stranger at the door of her mission church in Chupol, Guatemala. When Sister Rita came closer she recognized Sister Therese Marie, who soon began to cook, experiment with the solar oven and to make donuts for an Easter gathering.

Presentation Sister Myra Remily, of Aberdeen, South Dakota, shared life and mission with Sister Therese Marie her last eight years in Bolivia. Sister Myra remembers: “She was a great friend and a wonderful companion. We laughed a lot, cried and argued at times … We walked up the mountains, crossed streams and rocky paths.”

Sister Peggy Ryan, OP, upon arriving as a new missionary, spoke of Sister Therese Marie as “one of the sisters whom I could watch and learn from, one who loved the Bolivian people as guest and friend, who loved God and the people of God from within their culture. I so appreciated her humor, her prayer and all the goodies she made!”

Noé César Quisberth, of Entre Ríos, Bolivia, wrote to Sister Therese Marie through Facebook after her death: “We send profound sentiments as companion and friend, dear Therese Marie, rest in peace. You fulfilled your mission bringing the Word and helping the neediest. Rest in peace, dear Therese Marie of the Presentations. With much affection, Noé and family.”

And finally Sister Julianne adds, “I am consoled, knowing that a very faithful friend, who walked with us here, will continue to walk with us from the place of her new found freedom and joy.”

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

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