Noe Valley Voice July-August 2002

Sister Immaculée Walsh--a Teacher for More Than 60 Years

Longtime St. Paul High School educator Sister Immaculée Walsh, BVM, died June 2 at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. She was 93.

Sister Immaculée taught English and French at St. Paul's on 29th Street for 37 years -- from 1928 to 1935, 1944 to 1947, and 1964 to 1991. In retirement, she lived at the St. Paul High School Convent from 1991 to 1996. Later, she moved to the BVM Motherhouse convent in Dubuque.

She was born on July 14, 1908, in Chicago, Ill., to John and Mary Hungeling Walsh. The youngest of five daughters, Irene Walsh graduated from Immaculata High School before entering the BVM congregation in 1926. She professed first vows in 1928 and final vows six years later, at the age of 26.

Sister Lynn Lester, who taught alongside Sister Immaculée at St. Paul High School, remembers her close friend as an "elegant, intelligent, refined, wise, and caring woman...[who] had an intense interest in life and so enjoyed the company of others. She loved to read, and in her imagination visited so many places all around the world. She loved to study maps and atlases. Although she never drove, there was no one who knew the streets of San Francisco better than Immaculée!"

Sister Immaculée taught at St. Paul's over a span of 63 years. Off and on during that time, she also taught high school in Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois. But according to Sister Lynn, her heart forever remained in San Francisco. "To know and love Immaculée, you also had to know and love the San Francisco 49ers!"

Her students were expected to give Sister Immaculée their undivided attention in class, noted Sister Lynn. But "rules and regulations were not a part of her lexicon. Instead, Immaculée lived her life directed by an inner wisdom, nurtured by a life of discipline and deep faith in the Lord. She always said, 'Breathe deeply, use your inner resources, and you will be fine.'"

Sister Immaculée's parents and her sisters Veronica Martin, Margaret Walsh, Alice Walsh, and Marion Harding preceded her in death. She is survived by nieces, a nephew, and the Sisters of Charity nuns with whom she shared her life for 76 years.

Her funeral liturgy was celebrated June 5 in the Marian Hall chapel. Burial took place at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Iowa. Memorials in Sister Immaculée's name may be sent to the BVM Retirement Fund, in care of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003.