Sister Rose Dolores Hoffelmeyer, 91, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), died on June 12, 2020, in Ross Hall at the SCL Motherhouse, Leavenworth, Kansas. Sister celebrated her 70th anniversary as an SCL in 2018. She entered the religious community soon after high school and served as a long-time educator, administrator, missionary, parish minister and historian. She was known as a life-long learner, an avid reader and a strong advocate for social justice. She epitomized the scriptural commandment to love God and to love neighbor.
Shirley Therese was born on Dec. 6, 1928 in St. Joseph, Missouri, the youngest of seven children of Frederick A. and Dominica (Kemmerling) Hoffelmeyer. A strong German Catholic heritage predominated on both sides of her family. She grew up with a religious inclination and an interest in foreign missions. She attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School, Convent of the Sacred Heart Academy High School, and St. Joseph Junior College, all in St. Joseph, Missouri, before pursuing an elementary education degree at Saint Mary College, Leavenworth. Shirley entered the SCL Community on Aug. 19, 1948. She professed vows as Sister Rose Dolores on Aug. 15, 1956. The following year, she completed her bachelor’s degree, and eventually earned a master’s degree in education in 1963. She continued to pursue post-graduate education.
Sister Rose Dolores taught in grade schools for 12 years in Missouri, Kansas and Montana, and then transitioned to teaching American literature and social studies to high school students for 19 years in the same three states. She served six years in leadership as an SCL Community Councilor. She also served on several hospital boards. In 1980, Sister returned to secondary education.
In 1987, she entered Maryknoll Language School to develop her Spanish-speaking skills and prepare for service in South America, finally fulfilling a childhood dream. An assignment in Peru became the focal point of her life and led to some of her most significant work. For 10 years, she labored alongside the Peruvian people in small remote villages that struggled against poverty and lacked basic necessities. Sister Rose Dolores met these challenges through education, religious instruction, improved health care, and spiritual support. In We Heard the Call, a 650-page book published in 2005, Sister Rose Dolores chronicled the history of the SCL missions in Latin America.
Preceding Sister Rose Dolores in death were her parents and all six siblings, including five sisters, Francis Daffron, Anna Hoffelmeyer, Claire Hoffelmeyer, Bernice Keller, Leona Bodde, and one brother, Frederick Hofflemeyer. Survivors include nieces and a nephew, and the SCL Community.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, 2020 in Ross Chapel, SCL Motherhouse, Leavenworth. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Ross Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. Interment will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Motherhouse grounds. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is restricted to only invited guests. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Arrangements made by Belden-Larkin Funeral Home, Leavenworth.