Sister Michaela Remembered

This is a summary of some the salient events in the life of Sister Michaela Mueller who passed away on August 2, 2006, as a result of a stroke. She had previously been a resident at the Celina Manor Nursing Home, Celina, Ohio, for approximately five years with symptoms of dementia/Alzheimer's disease, which was increasingly evident during the last year or so.

Dorothy Rose, the eldest of eight children of Michael and Irene (Schuman) Mueller was born on March 27, 1920 in St. Leon, Indiana. Eventually, the family moved to Rushville, Indiana, where she went to St. Mary's Catholic grade school and attended high school at the Graham public school. Immediately upon graduation, she entered the Franciscan Convent, Oldenburg, Indiana, August 15, 1937 to become a teaching nun taking her father's name, Michaela. From 1941 to 1943 she went to Marian College, Indianapolis, Indiana, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. While she was Sister of St. Francis (OSF) she became licensed to teach in elementary through high school and taught English, General Science, Biology, Physics, Geometry, Mathematics, Latin and Religion, and was assigned to teach in Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and New Mexico.

She was also active in taking summer courses including physics at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. In association with the American, Howard, and Georgetown Universities, she spent a summer at the National Institute of Health in cancer research under Dr. Peter Mora of Oxford University, England. She was head of the science department at Scecina Memorial High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, and organized the Archdiocesan Teacher's Institute. She was also a member in the American Association of Physics Teachers, and held charter membership in the Indianapolis Archdiocesan Association of Science and Mathematics Teachers. She was involved in the planning and equipping of science laboratories, guest-lectured on science teaching, and participated in the organization of Indianapolis city-wide science fairs.

After a back injury, surgery and a second back injury, Sr. Michaela had to curtail her science laboratory activity because of inability to lift the laboratory equipment due to the handicaps she acquired to her right arm and left leg. But from a positive standpoint, this also allowed her to concentrate on the theological and religious aspects of her profession. As a result of her independent study and research in Christology, she did a comparative, tri-columnar etymological study in Greek, Latin, and English of St. Paul's Christological hymn in Philippines 2:5-11. She theologized on the humanity of Jesus, the Christ. The professor who directed her research submitted it to the Harvard Divinity School with the result that Sr. Michaela was the first woman elected to admission to the school as a "fellow in advanced theological studies".

The article written by SFCC Archivist, Fran Campbell ( is taken from the October 2006 edition of the SFCC newsletter, "All To All". SFCC stands for the Sisters for Christian Community. This article is an obituary, and contains some discussion of the dispensing of Sr. Michaela's OSF vows in 1970. We are grateful to be permitted by both OSF and SFCC to include this article and the five SFCC testimonials.

From 1970 to 1990, some of her SFCC-related teaching positions included working in the inner city of Chicago as a reading specialist with the black community, and spending a few years in the SFCC New England region (about 1984-1987). Sr. Michaela became the Assistant Dean at the Hurst Community College, in Hurst, Texas, and taught at the Sinclair Community College, in Dayton, Ohio. In 1988, she began teaching CCD classes at the Holy Trinity Parish in Coldwater, Ohio, and in New Bremen, Ohio. She subsequently became the RCIA Coordinator (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), which position she held until about 1994.

Some photos with Sr. Michaela (arranged more or less in chronological order) are included with this Remembrance. Her brothers (Frederick, Charles, and Clarence) and sisters (Margaret Mary Roberts and Mary Eileen Johnston) are especially grateful to Mildred Homan, her first cousin in Coldwater, who spent many hours comforting and caring for Sr. Michaela's physical and psychological needs in the Coldwater, Ohio area. We also wish to give special thanks to her landlady, Clara Hess of Coldwater, with whom Sr. Michaela lived seven years before she was admitted to the Celina Manor Nursing Home around 2001. Clara was always available to help, if and when Sr. Michaela needed something, such as assisting her to submit the paperwork to donate her body after her death for the advancement of medical science and education.

It has been suggested that those wishing to have Masses said in Sr. Michaela's memory do so at their parish.

Finally, we want to thank very much the Sisters of St. Francis and the Sisters for Christian Community along with everyone who furnished any information and pictures for this Remembrance.

If you would like to add your own Remembrance, or if there are omissions or mistakes, please contact us, Charles and Charlotte Mueller, 156 Echo Lake South Lane, Greene, NY 13778; phone 607-656-4657 (summer) or 386-441-7335 (winter); email

It is our hope that this remembrance will do justice to Sr. Michaela for her deep personal faith, her concern and caring for the downtrodden and poor, as well as for her achievements and leadership.

May she rest in peace!

Last updated: September 7, 2006