May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Mary Monica Hoefer, RSM

Sr. Mary Monica Hoefer, RSM, died peacefully on Oct. 9, 2020, at the Neighborhoods of White Lake following a lengthy illness. 

Her 87 years of life began on Oct. 3, 1933, in Earlville, Iowa, as she joined her three sisters: Lillian, Verna, and Anna Jane. Their parents, Raymond and Olivia (Nurre) Hoefer, named her Alice Lavonne and provided her with a loving childhood. She graduated from Our Lady of Victory High School in Waterloo. After working as a secretary for a year, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Detroit in September 1952. There she joined her older sister, Anna Jane, who came four years earlier and was now known as Sister Mary Gabrielle.

Funeral arrangements included a Memorial Service for residents only at McAuley Center's Sacred Heart Chapel on Friday, Oct. 16.
Sr. Mary Monica Hoefer, RSM

Alice Lavonne received the name Sister Mary Monica and prepared for serving in education. On Aug. 16, 1958, she made profession of perpetual vows.

Sister Monica's first assignment as a teacher was to St. John High School in Independence, Iowa. Her students dearly loved her, one of whom wrote, "She was a gem, and we loved her as a teacher and as a [joyful] human being." When the class of 1963 celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, Loren Buls invited her to join them and wrote, "You were one of our favorite teachers, and we would love to see you again.”

Other teaching assignments took Monica to high schools in Cheboygan, Grand Rapids, Farmington Hills, and Bay City. During those ten years, she completed a master's degree in business education at the University of Detroit. This assisted with her teaching and prepared her for her next position as the registrar at Mercy College of Detroit. There she served from 1971-80 and then left the educational ministry to serve as an administrative assistant at Mercy Hospital, Dubuque.

Sister Monica was a valued member of the hospital staff for the next twenty-five years and enjoyed this change. Living in Dubuque allowed her to help her aging mother and her two visually impaired sisters, Lillian and Verna. She managed their finances and provided support during their final years. Sister Gabrielle joined the pastoral care staff at the Mercy Hospital in 1987 and provided additional family support. Sister Monica officially retired in 2005 when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Nonetheless, she stayed on as a volunteer for several years and then came to McAuley Center on Aug. 27, 2009.

Memories of Monica abound as Sisters recall her steadfast and willing spirit in all the changes that occurred in religious life along with her joyful participation in community celebrations. She was often the first one up for dancing, and her ability to remember and recite poetry and popular music of her time was remarkable. Sister Rachelle recalled how patiently she accepted her lingering illness, never complaining, always welcoming, and reaching out to others. She was often concerned that she might be asking too much of the nursing staff who assured her it was their privilege to help her. Community prayer was very important to Monica, and she rarely missed an opportunity to participate.

Sister Gabrielle died on July 12, 2020, and Sister Monica's death completed the Hoefer family's entrance to eternal life. She is survived by many friends and her loving community.

Funeral arrangements include a Memorial Service for residents only at McAuley Center's Sacred Heart Chapel on Friday, Oct. 16. Non-residents are invited to the 11 a.m. burial in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield. Masks are required.

To access Sister Mary Monica's obituary and an online guestbook to leave condolences, click here.

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