Historical Church Records indicate that Saint John’s Parish had twenty-five native daughters who entered religious orders. Nine individuals entered the Order of Saint Francis (O.S.F); twelve entered the Order of Saint Benedict (O.S.B.); one Sister of Charity (S.C.); one Dominican Sister (O.P.); one Sister of Most Precious Blood (C.P.P.S.); and one Maryknoll Sister (M.M.). Ten individuals were selected for their recent services and for significant accomplishments. This is not to diminish the sacrifices and services of all religious daughters of the parish.
One of the first daughters of the parish to take her religious vows was Benedictine Sister Maria Josepha Schmidt on August 13, 1886. Anna Marie Schmidt was born in Wirges, Nassua, Germany on December 1, 1851 and emigrated at a very early age with her parents, Christian Schmidt and Anna M. Hackenbruck. Sister Josepha Schmidt was one of four founding Sisters of St. Scholastica School in Shoal Creek, Logan County, Arkansas in 1878. This school is now St. Scholastic Monastery at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Sister Josepha Schmidt died on February 17, 1936 and is buried in Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Ferdinand.
Two daughters of Herman H. Godecker and Mary Ellen Callahan were Benedictine Sisters. Sister M. Hilda and Sister M. Salesia were granddaughters of John Henry Godecker and Mary Richter. John Henry Godecker and his wife donated the five acres St. John’s Church was built on. Sister M. Hilda taught at St. Joseph Hill School and was among the first Sisters in Ferdinand to receive her doctorate degree. Sister M. Salesia would overseer the building of Our Lady of Grace Convent & Academy, Beech Grove, Indiana. She was also well known for two books she published: “Simon Brute, First bishop of Vincennes” and “History of Catholic Education in Indiana; a Survey of the Schools, 1702 – 1925.”
Emma Book was the daughter of Joseph William Book and Lillian Hunt. She was born September 23, 1914 and she took her final vows in 1942 as Sister Josepha Book. Sister Josepha Book died in Huntingburg, Indiana and was buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Ferdinand.
Benedictine Sister Mary Ann Kruer was born July 16, 1917 to John H. Kruer and Anna Koopman. She took her final vows August 10 1939. She was a founding member of Our Lady of Grace Monastery. She died July 1, 2011 at St. Paul’s Hermitage, Beech Grove, Indiana and was buried July 7 in the Cemetery at Our Lady of Grace Monastery.
Dominican Sister Mary Joseph Fosskuhl was the daughter of Rudolph Fosskuhl and Mary H. Piper. She was born February 3, 1922 and died May 28, 2003. Sister Mary Joseph is buried at the Dominican St. Catharine Cemetery in Springfield, Kentucky.
Two daughters of Joseph H. Huber, Sr. and Mary C. Koetter are Sisters in service from the parish. Sister Kathryn Huber, a Benedictine Sister, was Prioress from 1989 to 1998 at Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand. Sister Rosemary is a Maryknoll Sister stationed in Ossining, New York. Sister Rosemary Huber has a Masters degree in Hospital Administration and served her ministry with Buddhists in South Korea, with Muslins in Indonesia, and with Hindus in Nepal.
The following are retired, or active, Benedictine Sisters:
Sister Location Parents
Sharon Bierman Beech Grove, IN Marcellus Bierman and Irma Kruer
Anita Eberle Beech Grove, IN Lawrence R. Eberle and Bernadine Toby
Geneva Stumler Ferdinand, IN Elmer Stumler and Rosalena Koetter