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January 27, 2021

1/11/2021 8:56:00 AM
Prochaska, Sister Bernadette

Sister Bernadette Prochaska, FSPA, 88, died Wednesday morning, Jan. 6, 2021, of pancreatic cancer at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse. She was in the sixty-eighth year of her religious profession.
Bernadette Milada Prochaska was born June 15, 1932, in Montfort (Castle Rock), Wis., to Frank and Victoria (Roh) Prochaska, where she grew up with her nine brothers and sisters. She entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at La Crosse, before graduating high school. She made first profession of vows Aug. 12, 1952.
She ministered in the field of education all of her life, serving often as an organist and choir director, in addition. Sister Bernadette earned a bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in music, from Viterbo College (University), then earned a master's degree in English with a minor in Latin, from Notre Dame University, and finally received a Ph.D. in English, from Marquette University, Milwaukee. Her early years of teaching were in elementary schools in Wisconsin: Holy Cross (1952-54), St. Mary's (1958-60), St. Wenceslaus (1968-69), Cathedral (1969-71) and St. James (1976-81) in La Crosse; St. Joseph's, Dodgeville (1954-57) and St. Joseph's Ridge, La Crosse (1960-63). In addition to teaching, Sister served as principal at St. Mary's, St. Wenceslaus, Cathedral and St. James. From 1963 to 1968, Sister Bernadette ministered as superintendent of Catholic schools on the island of Guam, returning there at the request of the Bishop in 1971, for another five years.
In 1981, Sister Bernadette moved to Milwaukee, where she began a career of 36 years, at Marquette University, as an instructor, associate professor, professor and assistant dean of the English department. While at Marquette, Sister played the organ at Gesu Parish and after retiring from teaching English, she ministered as receptionist at the parish, until she moved to St. Rose Convent in December of 2016. For several summers, Sister Bernadette served as lecturer at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and Cardinal Stritch College (University) in Milwaukee. For almost 40 years, Sister Bernadette played background music once a month for televised Masses in the Madison Diocese, as part of their Apostolate to the Handicapped. In 1992, Sister Bernadette responded to a call by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, to provide summer English classes to clergy and religious in the Czech Republic, a ministry she continued until 2015. She also enjoyed sharing her professional expertise through service on numerous boards, including Viterbo University's Board of Trustees. She retired to St. Rose Convent in 2018, where she continued her organ ministry and began volunteering as receptionist at Catholic Charities.
Sister Bernadette is survived by her Franciscan community, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; and her brothers, Joseph, Francis and Laurence; and her sisters, Mary Ann Lipska, Elizabeth Pink, Catherine Prochaska, Agnes Bomkamp, Theresa Prochaska and Barbara Bollant.
A virtual sharing of Sister Bernadette's life took place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Bernadette was live-streamed on Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. Sr. Bernadette was buried in the family plot at St. John's in Montfort, in accord with Covid-19 restrictions. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home assisted with arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 912 Market St., La Crosse, Wis., 54601-4782.
At Sr. Bernadette's Burial Service, nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews and other family and friends were in attendance. The following families were there: Lipska, Pink, Bomkamp and Prochaska. Pallbearers were Wayne Lipska, Paul Pink, Brian Bomkamp, Peter Prochaska, Phil Prochaska and Jesse Prochaska.
-sumbitted by Ryan (Red) Lipska

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