A century of good works
In an era when most people change careers 5 five to 7 seven times, Sister Rosaria Kaiser, SDS, Arts ’44 and Grad ’47, has been reporting to the same boss (or would that be Boss?) for the better part of a century. Sister Rosaria, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, is the longest-professed and oldest Salvatorian sister in the world.
“I am so grateful for my call to religious life,” she says. “I have dedicated my life to the Savior and feel close to Christ. I knew from my early years that I wanted to be a sister and a teacher.”
She was just 13 when she left her family’s farm near Cadott, Wis., to join the convent, and she made her first profession of vows when she was 16.
Sister Rosaria’s calling was in the classroom. After earning two math degrees from Marquette, she taught in elementary schools in Wisconsin and Illinois and then spent 25 years at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee. She calls teaching math her “great joy.”
“If she had to explain herself five times, she would,” says Kathie Dailey, Jour ’64, a former DSHA student who now works for the order. “You didn’t leave that classroom without knowing your stuff.”
“She would not give up,” agrees Anne (Niebler) McNamara, Arts ’64, another former DSHA student. “I watched her efforts and admired her dedication and grew to love this woman who took her role so seriously. … When she was in her 80s, I sent off a note telling her of the wondrous influence she had on me. I should have written years earlier, but now I realize there was no rush.”
Sister Rosaria lives at the Salvatorian Sisters Residence in Milwaukee and is still mentally sharp. “She is in terrific health — in better health than many younger people,” Daily says.
An avid crocheter, Sister Rosaria has crocheted more than 100 baby blankets for the Christ Child Society of Milwaukee. “When they called and asked, I thought I would be happy to do it for the babies and the Child Jesus,” she says.
In celebration of her centennial on Earth, Sister Rosaria’s friends and family gathered for a Mass and luncheon in late March.
“I am grateful that God has been good to my family and to me in religious life,” she says. “I feel God is helping and that He is close.”