On Sunday, April 19, 2020, Sister Mary Paulissa, age 93 and in her 74th year of religious profession, entered into eternal life dying as she had lived—quietly and simply—at the Ursuline Center where she resided during these last two years.
Born to Hubert and Luella (Clement) Klausing, Dorothy Jane was the oldest of six children, four girls and two boys in a strong Catholic family in Delphos, Ohio. She attended St. John Elementary School before becoming an Aspirant at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo. She began her novitiate with the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo in 1944. After attending Mary Manse College, Sister received a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Sister taught every grade from first through twelfth in her 50 year teaching career. Sister taught elementary school for 22 years in the Toledo Diocese from 1945-1968. In 1968 Sister began teaching high school English and religion. She is well known as the English teacher at Notre Dame Academy, Toledo—her alma mater— for 22 years. Hundreds of students grew in their appreciation of the beauty of the English language through Sister’s precise instruction and the reciprocal enthusiasm between teacher and student. Her days at Notre Dame Academy left a lasting impression on staff, parents, and students. Her love for literature and English language was evident in her teaching skill which could capture the imagination of even the most reluctant student. She was a master of the pun and engaged in this form of humor with a mischievous grin.
Her dedication to education equaled her enthusiasm for other acts of kindness; physical work, visiting the nursing homes as the Red Cross moderator, collecting money for the Missions, playing a game of Bingo, or sitting quietly by the bedside of a sick Sister. In community she was aware of the needs at the time and showed up with her apron.
One could find Sister prayerfully present before the Blessed Sacrament lifting up the intentions of her students and their parents, and the needs of the congregation, her family, and the world.
During these days as spring bursts forth beauty in the flowers and trees, we recall Sister Mary Paulissa’s love for nature and respect for the planet Earth. On this Earth Day we give our Sister back to the Creator God to cherish her in his loving embrace. She loved her flowers indoors and outdoors and willing shared them with others.
Like our foundress Sister Maria Aloysia, who died during a heat wave and was buried with little fan-faire, because of the coronavirus Sister Mary Paulissa died with just a few sisters present reminding us of her quiet and humble demeanor. May Sister Maria Aloysia companion Sister Mary Paulissa to our good and provident God. May she rest in peace.