Sister Rosemary Henrichs
Former Superintendent of Schools
dies in tragic accident
By TIM WENZL
Southwest Kansas Register
Editor's Note: In the file photo at right, Sister Rosemary Henrichs, A.S.C., sings for children at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Dodge City. Sister Rosemary died in a car accident in Illinois Sept. 29.
The Diocese of Dodge City has lost an old friend: Sister Rosemary Henrichs, A.S.C., who for six years served as Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Dodge City, died Sept. 29 in a vehicular accident in Illinois.
“I knew Sister Rosemary Henrichs only a few years, but two things stood out clearly,” said Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore. “She was the consummate Road Warrior, always conscientious, always driving to this school and to that school, always moving on. And where should our latter-day pilgrim meet her death? On the road, of course. Of course. “There was a second thing that all of us will miss. She was a happy Road Warrior. The even temper, the long view of things, the easy connecting with all those around her: we will miss that. She was self-possessed, satisfied with her work and with her life, and thus deeply happy. And that was contagious, of course. Of course.
“Requiescat in pace.”
Sister Rosemary was driving northbound on Illinois 159 when she drove off the road and into a guardrail to avoid a vehicle that had stopped in front of her and was waiting to turn. Her vehicle then went back onto the roadway and was struck by a third vehicle. She died at the scene.
The Most Rev. Stanley G. Schlarman, bishop emeritus of Dodge City, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial at the Ruma Center Chapel Oct. 4.
Sister Rosemary, 78, celebrated her 60th jubilee as a member of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ on June 6, 2010. During most of her 60 years Sister Rosemary ministered in elementary education, first as a teacher in Olney and Flora, Ill., and in Bissell Hills, Mo. She spent 29 years as principal for Catholic Schools in Centerville, Ill.; Fort Dodge, Iowa, (Holy Rosary School); Zell, Mo., and Waterloo, Ill. She served as Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Dodge City from 1995 to 2001.
In addressing her first pastors and principals meeting at Dodge City in 1995, she shared these comments: “The reason I kept being principal is because I believe the principal can do so much to set the tone of the school. The tone I always wanted was to have the school permeate with the Spirit of God.”
She said that Catholic Schools need to be the best possible academically and that the Spirit of God should permeate the entire day.
“In order for that to happen,” said Sister Rosemary, “our children’s liturgies and our religious rituals must be alive and meaningful and welcome participation. The schools should be an environment where there is a spirit of peace and nonviolence in all that we do. We must have a sensitivity to what God Calls us to be as educators. Religion classes are our right and privilege and they must be taught by competent and creative teachers. We need to have parents who support us and share the value system of the school. And we must be alive (as opposed to stale), and open to change.
“Responding to God’s call, I feel is the basis for all we do. For principals and pastors, I feel God calls you to help create an atmosphere in which each teacher is able to blossom. And teachers, in turn, are called to create atmospheres for their students to blossom.”
Being multi-talented and full of enthusiasm, Sister Rosemary was involved in playing the organ, piano and guitar for liturgical services. She also gave lectures to YMCA, BCCW, and RCIA groups. Annually, Sister was part of a Precious Blood Team that gives a week-long mission in parishes. She gave reflections on the Scriptures at the Ruma Motherhouse and was always available to directors of parish schools of religion to give special religious experiences to children.
Kathryn Werner, who served as Sister Rosemary’s secretary in the Diocese of Dodge City, said, “Sister Rosemary was absolutely the most joyful, optimistic person I have ever known. She was a peacemaker and encouraged and helped everyone. We have lost a truly inspiring example of living the Gospel.”
Sister Rosemary’s motto was: “Do as much as you can, as long as you can.”