Posted October 28, 2023 in Obituaries
To Love and Live and Be
I want to love and live and be – and oh,
To grow like bulbs that burst through burnished soil
And yearn to return the best of life to Him.
Almost fifty years ago, Sister Marie Cecile penned these words, part of a sonnet filled with a yearning to be free and loving while helping others. Blessed are we who have accompanied her on this journey, recipients of her whimsical spirit and endlessly generous loving. What a gift of her “best of life” she has given to God through so many lives!
Joanne Dolores Bauers was born in 1928 to Edward and Josephine, joining older sister Mercedes into the Cleveland family whose home parish was St. Cecilia’s. She attended elementary school there, followed by her years at Beaumont School for Girls and a year at Ursuline College before entering the congregation in 1948. Through these years and always, family was her first love, though music always came in a close second. In her life, these were ways to glorify God at all times.
Sister Marie Cecile also cherished her Ursuline sisters. She happily served in education with them at St. Ann, St. Timothy, Villa Angela Academy and St. Philomena Schools. During this time, she also completed a B.S. in Music at Ursuline College for Women and a Master of Music degree at the University of Notre Dame. Her musical giftedness then led to 52 years of teaching private music lessons to students at the Ursuline Educational Center and Merici Crossings.
A listing of her ministry does not do her just service, however. She truly was a free spirit with her own brand of circuitous reasoning and storytelling. Moving from point A to point B was not as important to her as making her argument or highlighting her thinking with colorful examples. To be in her presence was to be constantly curious about where the conversation would go and where one would end up. Her students loved this in her because they knew that facts always came second to her love for them. She was included in their family parties and sorrows, an ever welcome presence of profound care for each individual.
Sister Marie Cecile planned her own funeral. The process she used and the choices she made are both indicative of her character. Most sisters avail themselves of a standard form, but Sister Marie Cecile had clipped together bits and pieces of readings and music that were important to her. And in her own beautiful calligraphic font, she wrote across a page the hymns and classical pieces most precious to her as her final gift to all of us. Brahms, Bach, Handel and Mozart join the scriptures in her choices, all pointing to a compassionate, creative and loving God who our sister strove to emulate.
St. Cecilia is known as the patron of musicians. She is said to have cherished beauty and her deep faith in God. Whether in poetry, song, love of nature or stories, we sense her presence in Sister Marie Cecile in her 74 years of life with the Ursuline congregation. Although sorrow is now our companion, we also rejoice that our sister has completed her earthly journey and has truly returned the best of her life to the eternal God of all that is beautiful and lyrical. May the Beauty that is ever ancient yet ever new embrace Sister Marie Cecile and each of us as we accompany her in prayer to eternal glory. And may we hold one another in prayer, remembering all who survive her in this life: her sister Mercedes Hronek, her nieces and nephews, the Ursuline Sisters, and countless students who called her friend.
Services for Sister Marie Cecile:
Friday, November 3, 2023
Regina Health Center Chapel, 5232 Broadview Rd., Richfield 44286
Funeral Mass: 11:00am
Face Masks required