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Sr. Mary James (Alice Margaret Mary) Geenen, dies Print
Religious obituaries
Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

FREEDOM -- Sister Mary James (Alice Margaret Mary) Geenen entered Eternal Life February 20, 2012, the third child of Henry R. Geenen and Gladys Catherine (McCormick) Geenen. She was born March 31, 1919 in Freedom. She attended Saint Nicholas Elementary School. After graduating from high school she attended Saint Norbert College and Silver Lake College where she earned a BA Degree in Elementary Education with majors in Philosophy and English. She attended the University of Dayton earning a MS Degree in Elementary Education.

Sister Mary James took religious vows on August 15, 1946 with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc. She changed her community affiliation to the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady on December 8, 1981. Sister celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Religious on August 15, 1996.

Sister Mary James served as a teacher in the Diocese of Green Bay at: Sacred Heart, Oshkosh; Saint Mary, Algoma; Saint Wendell, Cleveland; Saint Anthony, Neopit; Saint Aloysius, Kaukauna; Saint Paul, Manitowoc; Saint Mary, Kaukauna; Chilton Catholic, Chilton; Saint John, Seymour: In the Diocese of Superior;Saint Joseph, Rice Lake. In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Saint Mary, Waukesha; Holy Spirit, Milwaukee. In the Diocese of Steubenville: Ohio; Saint Nicholas, Zanesville: In Michigan: Saint Anne, Menominee.

Throughout her teaching career, Sister Mary James continued her education, earning credits from the University of Wisconsin, Manitowoc, and the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh; the University of Dayton, Ohio. Sister held the following licenses: Elementary Teacher K-8 from the State of Wisconsin and from the State of Ohio-Elementary Teacher K-8, Supervisor and Administrator. During her teaching career she continued to maintain Advanced Certification in Religious Education from the Diocese of Green Bay and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Sister Mary James served the Church for 47 years as a dynamic, energetic and dedicated teacher. Sister Mary James was involved as an organizer/teacher in summer school workshops in reading, spelling and math for remedial and advanced students; art seminar; and summer Religious Education Programs. She taught in a College Reading Clinic; prepared students and directed them in Diocesan Music Festivals; maintained membership in a College Chorus for eight years; directed programs of entertainment at schools; trained altar servers and held regular meetings of high school and grade school servers in the club, KNIGHTS OF THE ALTAR; participated in the production of Christmas plays, musicals, spring concerts, St. Patrick’s Day programs, teaching songs, speaking parts,dance numbers, frequently directing the programs.

After many delightful years of teaching, Sister enjoyed being involved: tutoring students on all grade levels, writing letters of encouragement to missionaries, praying for them, making mission rosaries, delivering Meals on Wheels, working with patients and shopping for them, helping children prepare for each new school year—shopping for school supplies, clothing and shoes, helping with costumes, attending their programs and being available to help them in any way. A former student of Sister Mary James, now a physician at Froedtert Hospital, told a colleague of his, “All I ever needed to know about life I learned from my third grade teacher!” What a marvelous influence Sister had on, not only one student, but all of her students who were privileged to have her as a master teacher.

Sister Mary James is survived by one brother: John; two sisters: Sister Timothy and Sister Rosemarie, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, friends, and students.

Sister was predeceased by her parents; brothers: Reverend James J. Geenen, Henry R. Jr., Joseph E., William T. and PatrickJ. Geenen; three sisters:Catherine Mary, Mary Marcella Geenen Fox, and Sister Rosalyn.

A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, February 25, 2012 in Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 2222 Shopiere Road, Beloit, WI with Father Gary Krahenbuhl officiating. Burial was at Saint Nicholas Cemetery, Freedom, WI. Family and friends were received Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Daley Murphy Wisch & Associates Funeral Home and Crematorium, 2355 Cranston Road, Beloit, WI with a Prayer Service at 3:45 p.m.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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