Sister M. Albertine, CSC
(Emma Marie Kramer)
May 4, 1930 – August 5, 2021
Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Shumway, Illinois on July 31, 1948
Initial Profession of Vows on August 15, 1951
Sister M. Albertine (Kramer) was always in a hurry. She was usually the first to exit the church after daily mass. And off she went on her electrified scooter chair down the halls of Saint Mary’s Convent. The sisters anticipated meeting up with her in the community dining room as usual. However, Sister died unexpectedly at 91 years old on August 5, 2021 at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Indiana. She was admitted recently saying that she had not been feeling well. This time in her haste, Sister Albertine had gone ahead to await us at heaven’s banquet. Until then, the Sisters of the Holy Cross will meet our sister at the table of the Lord in communion with all our beloved dead.
Emma Marie Kramer was the first child of Cecilia Marie (Muffler) Kramer and Albert P. Kramer, who were farmers. She was born at home in rural Illinois near today’s village of Verona on May 4, 1930, part of Vienna Township in Grundy County. She and her younger brother, Mathew, attended the one-room public elementary schools in nearby Mazon. Her aunt, Velma Muffler, taught her in seventh and eighth grades. Sister Albertine left a short account of her life upon which this obituary depends. “Since I was the only eighth grader, I would hurry and get my work done and then, while my aunt taught the other seven grades, I would read, read, read a children’s travel series, traveling to every country in the world.” Her dreams of travel took her only as far as the county seat, Morris, where her parents offered her the opportunity to attend St. Angela’s Academy for her secondary education. There she met the Sisters of the Holy Cross, writing “there my vocation was born,” graduating in 1948 and entering the Congregation that July. She had found the sisters to be accomplished teachers, ever as good as her Aunt Velma.
Miss Emma Kramer received the holy habit at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, on February 2, 1949. She became known as Sister Mary Albertine. She retained the name throughout her next 72 years of religious life, her name derived from both her parents. The pace of training or formation went more quickly in those days with Sister Albertine making her initial profession of vows on August 15, 1951 and perpetual profession soon after on the same date in 1954. Attaining a college degree, however, was a slower process at the time. After years of classroom experience, Sister Albertine earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1965 from the College of the Holy Names, Oakland, California. Her band, Our Lady Queen of Peace, will miss her on their 67th anniversary of perpetual profession. They remember her loving the hard work of ministry, but even better, loving to play.
Perhaps “loving to play” made her an excellent elementary school teacher for 30 years, especially in the upper grades. She seemed to understand junior high students in their early adolescence with their spurts of growth, curiosity, anxieties, and search for self. As a teacher she was very concrete and practical and provided boundaries. Sister specialized in science, especially physiology, based on later postgraduate studies at the University of Washington, Ellensburg, Washington. From 1950 to 1980 she taught in Catholic elementary schools in the American Midwest and West, sometimes serving as a principal as well. Though she loved to travel, Sister Albertine did not speak of the cities and states she remembered, but of the youth and their families in the school and parish communities of: Holy Cross, St. Vincent de Paul, Most Holy Redeemer, Holy Rosary, St. Matthew, St. Agnes, St. Pius and St. Joseph.
In 1980, when she was 50 years old, Sister Albertine transitioned to pastoral care at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and found the ministry suited her extroverted and caring personality very well. Training and ongoing education in chaplaincy prepared her for this change. Later she was the chaplain at Saint Agnes Medical Center, Fresno, California. Her last assignment was at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, then located in South Bend, Indiana 1991 to 2009. She described her years in pastoral care as a journey. “Delightful, caring, loving people dotted my life…, both sisters and lay, have been a special part of the molding of my life, people who loved God and loved life. I have a deep respect for the beauty that each person uniquely possesses.” She was proud of her years in the Holy Cross Health System and her membership in the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) to which she had been recommended by her Regional superior, Sister Mary Ellen O’Brien. Her superior characterized Sister Albertine as having an outgoing, winning personality, who related well to a variety of people and was sincere and compassionate with patients and their families. Lastly, Sister Albertine was “tireless” in her ministry.
Sister Albertine retired at 79 years old in September 2009. Yet no sister truly retires. Sister continued to be tireless, fully engaged in community life and stayed connected with friends while living at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Albertine considered herself more a follower than a leader but liked “to organize, type, work one on one with people, work together with others on projects, make things with my hands, and give to make others happy and feel affirmed.” One wonders what projects she dropped as she rushed to meet the Risen Jesus in the first hours of a new day. She who relished the silence and solitude of beaches along the Pacific coast, mountains in the West, and the shores of Lake Michigan, now experiences fullness of life in God, whose name is Beauty.
--Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC
Services for Sister M. Albertine (Kramer), CSC, will be private at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto on Thursday, August 12, 2021. You may view the livestreamed prayers and Mass beginning at 10:30 a.m. Check the Sisters of the Holy Cross website at www.cscsisters.org for the link. You may also want to make a donation to the Ministry with the Poor Fund in Sister’s name via the website.