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A soul who was ever faithful, Sr. Coletta Chalk left this life as she had lived it, quietly and peacefully. She had her own earthly resurrection experience three years prior, when due to health complications she was at the door of death. However, the encouragement and love of family, Sisters and staff proved to be the best of life medicine and resulted in a new lease on life. During these recent extra years, she has managed to live life fully.

Coletta Margaret Chalk was born into this world on January 6, 1924 to William B. and Charlotte E. Chalk (Stoeckle) in Newport, Kentucky. Throughout her life, Coletta prized herself on being a "gift" since she was born on the feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of the Star to the Magi. She was one of seven children, having three brothers and three sisters. She was raised in a family that bore living witness of faith in action which likely influenced her life vocation. 

Her early life was spent in Newport, where she received her education at her parish school of St. Vincent de Paul. Being from a good sized family, she had her own playmates within her own family setting. From the earliest of days, Coletta valued and fostered her special kinship to family and they to her which only grew over the years.

After graduating from Our Lady of Providence High School, Coletta felt drawn to a life of service as a nurse. She pursued a Diploma in Nursing from St. Elizabeth Nursing School in Covington, Kentucky in 1946. She practiced nursing until she decided to test out her desire to enter religious life. In February, 1951, Coletta entered the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor and was known in religious life as Sr. Vincent de Paul. In July of 1953, directly prior to First Profession, she discerned to leave the Congregation 

Less than a year after her departure, on June 13, 1954, she re-entered the Congregation and, when beginning the Novitiate was given her previous religious name of Sr. Vincent de Paul. On September 8, 1956, Sr. Vincent de Paul made First Profession of Vows and five years later made Perpetual Profession of Vows on August 25, 1961.
After the renewal of the Church and religious life as a result of Vatican II, Sr. Vincent de Paul returned to her baptismal name of Sr. Coletta.

Most of the ministerial life of Sr. Coletta was spent in the field of nursing. Sr. Coletta ministered in several of the Congregational hospital facilities in Cincinnati, Columbus, Batesville, Indiana, Ashland, Kentucky and Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to her hospital nursing, Sr. Coletta spent ten years working in the Tuberculosis Clinic for the city of Cincinnati.
In her later years, Sr. Coletta served in a few positions related to social outreach and in her most recent years in the apostolate of prayer and healing presence.

Despite her physical fragility, Sr. Coletta stayed actively engaged with all the forms of life that surrounded her. One could always count on Sr. Coletta to be present for almost every social offering or outing and most definitely every liturgy. She was an avid fan of “her Cincinnati Reds" and even managed to dress up for her Reds on occasion. 

Reflecting on her long meaningful life, it seems fitting to say: Thank you Sr. Coletta, for showing all of us how to age with incredible grace. A grace that carried you so peacefully from this world into the next. Please remember all of us who are yet on the journey of life. Go with God!

Sr. Marilyn Trowbridge, sfp
July 8, 2016

 

Sr. Loredana Giugliano remembers Sr. Coletta Chalk with great affection:

Sr. Coletta thank you for your hospitality and for sharing her room with me at St. Clare when I went to the US in 2004. I was a young sister and sharing the room with her was for me a source of joy and blessing. I felt that being sisters goes beyond the age, the years of profession and the culture. She gave so much love in those days. Rest in peace dear sister, and from Heaven watches over us all.

Thanks Sr. Loredana Giugliano

 

Published: September 1, 2016