Sister Rose Maria Birkenfeld, 86, died Jan. 27, 2018, at Chapel Ridge Health and Rehab.
The family of John Birkenfeld and Dora Moore Birkenfeld welcomed their daughter, Rose Maria, into their family Sept. 13, 1931, in Amarillo, Texas. Upon being received at St. Scholastica Convent on Dec. 13, 1949, she took the name Sister Mary Martin Birkenfeld. Sister Rose Maria served in St. John’s in Fort Smith, Crawford County Hospital in Van Buren, St. Joseph’s Orphanage in North Little Rock, Holy Rosary School in Stuttgart, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Booneville, Mo. In 1969, she became a charter member of the new foundation of Our Lady of Peace Monastery in Columbia, Mo. Serving as procurator, she oversaw the remodeling of the first convent. From 1999 to 2003, she served as Prioress. Following that role she was the Director of Religious Education and Pastoral Minister at St. Joseph’s in Pilot Grove, Mo., St. Mary’s in Shelbina, Mo., St. Peter in Marshall, Mo., St. Anthony of Padua in Effingham, Ill., St. Boniface in Koeltztown, Mo., and other surrounding parishes. She earned her BA in education at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., and her BA in religious studies at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., and her masters from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Upon moving back to St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, in 2010 she became Co-Oblate Director and gift shop worker. She resided in the monastery infirmary and later at Chapel Ridge Health and Rehab.
Sister Rose Maria is survived by two brothers, Howard Birkenfeld (sister-in-law Annette) and Martin Birkenfeld (sister-in-law Loretta); a sister, Sister Alice O’Brien, OSB; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death are her parents; and a brother, Charles Birkenfeld (sister-in-law Shirley).
Pallbearers will be the nursing staff of St. Scholastica Monastery. Honorary pall bearers will be nieces and nephews.
Vespers for the Dead will be Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Monastery Chapel. The funeral Mass will be Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with Father John Schmitz as presider. Burial will be at the Monastery cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to St. Scholastica Continuing Care Fund, P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913.
Arrangements are under the direction of Fentress Mortuary in Fort Smith, to send an online tribute, go to www.fentressmortuary.com.