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Sister Bernice Marie Hollenhorst, C.S.C. (Sister M. Josephina)

September 15, 1929 ~ May 16, 2018 (age 88)
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Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Saint Cloud, Minnesota on July 31, 1949
Initial profession of vows on August 15, 1952

At the end of the academic year in 2002, Sister Bernice Marie Hollenhorst retired as the seventh library director at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana.  During her twenty-seven years of service as a librarian at the College sponsored by her religious congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, she had also sought funding for a new library, oversaw its design and construction, and supervised the daily maintenance of Saint Mary’s award-winning Cushwa-Leighton Library.  The Hollenhorst siblings—she being the eighth in a family of ten--would have named the state-of-the art building after their sister! Under her leadership the library was always at the dynamic center of the College, exemplifying the core value of learning.  Scholars-in-residence, such as Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, were grateful for her hospitality and that of her staff “who broke library rules in my behalf” and whose attitude was nothing like “the standard library stereotypes, leaving me with fond memories enough for a lifetime.” Sister Rose Anne (Schultz), CSC, vice president for mission in 2002, said Sister Bernice’s “gracious manner and bright smile, her willingness to go the extra mile” were her hallmarks. 

After a welcome year’s sabbatical of spiritual renewal, Sister took those library and organizational skills with her into her third ministry--as an assistant archivist for the Sisters of the Holy Cross for ten years at their motherhouse, Saint Mary’s.  Sister Jeanette Fettig said, “When I was archives director she would do anything you asked. She put together good research on the history of the campus buildings which we still turn to.”  Sister Bernice also served for several years as secretary for the Holy Cross History Conference.

Few realize that Sister, as a sophomore staff student at Saint Mary’s College, was influenced by Sister Maria Pieta when Bernice applied to enter the Congregation in 1949, not to mention that her birthday was also the patronal feast of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Mary, Mother of Compassion.  Ironically it took thirteen summers before Sister M. Josephina, as she was then known, to complete her BA degree at Saint Mary’s College, class of 1960. The protracted study for sisters was common in the post-World War II era as part of the training for her first ministry--twenty-three years in elementary and secondary education, mostly in Indiana and Illinois. Her 1967 MA was from Rosary College, River Forest, IL.  Sister loved reading, even though her greatest regret as a librarian, was having so little time to read.  You may donate in Sister’s name to the Ministry with the Poor Fund at

On Tuesday May 22, 2018 the Visitation in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto begins at 9:00 a.m.  At 10:15 a.m. are the Prayers in the Presence of the Body with the Memento, followed immediately by the Mass of the Resurrection.  Kaniewski Funeral Homes is handling arrangements.  




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