Catherine Odelehr, CDP

We commend to your charity the soul of our beloved
Sister Catherine Odelehr 
who departed this life on December 28, 2011 
in the sixty-eighth year of her religious life 
Age: 83 years, 15 days 
Funeral: Saturday, December 31, 2011, at 10 a.m. 

“Rejoice, Rejoice, Let all the world rejoice! Today upon the earth a light has shown! A child is born, the promise of our God, the Savior, Christ the Lord!” [song by Dan Schutte]

Catherine Odelehr was one of six children born to Aloysius and Julia (Hill) Odelehr in St. Louis, Mo. After entering the Sisters of Divine Providence, while being prepared for her life as a vowed religious woman, Catherine also completed her high school education, followed by a bachelor of science in history and economics and a master’s degree in voice and music education. During her early years of study and ministry in education, Catherine was known as Sister Mary Aloysia, returning to her baptismal name in the years following Vatican II.

Sister Catherine loved music in all its forms. The good news of God’s love for us filled her heart with rejoicing, and she was able to share her faith with others through music.

Sing to the Lord and bless God’s name. Announce to the world the goodness of the Lord.

She had a beautiful singing voice and played both piano and organ, serving as organist at North American Martyrs Parish for 28 years. Whenever Sister Catherine had the opportunity to share her love of music with her family, in a parish, or in community, she played and sang God’s joy and peace into the hearts of all. Sister Catherine’s lifelong ministry was education, teaching in Madison and Venice, Ill., as well as in Tipton, Normandy, and Wardsville, Mo., where she also first took on the role of principal. Moving to North American Martyrs Parish in Florissant, Mo., Sister Catherine served as principal there for almost thirty years before ending her educational ministry as secretary in the same school for three more years.

Sister Catherine is remembered fondly for her spirituality, her lightheartedness, her gentle, peaceful spirit, and the love she showed to all she served. Her Sisters, family, and friends remember especially the way in which her love of God was expressed through music that led her listeners to deeper faith.

Give praise to the Lord with lute and harp, with trumpets and horn lift up your song; make music before the Lord.

After a few months of pain and struggling, with her long-time companion Sister Marguerite Luddon always by her side in love and care, Sister Catherine’s waiting for the God whom she had served in life ended. She entered into this holy Christmas season by joining the angels in praising God: “Rejoice, Rejoice, Let all the world rejoice! Today upon the earth a light has shown. A child is born, the promise of our God, the Savior, Christ the Lord! May our hearts and spirits be filled with the same rejoicing as we seek to bring Christ to birth in our world today!" 

Birthday: December 13 

Written by Sister Mary Francis Fletcher

If you would like to make a gift to the Sisters of Divine Providence in memory of Sister Catherine, visit our donation page.

Short Obituary:

Sister Catherine Odelehr, 83, entered life eternal on December 28, 2011 at Christian Northeast Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. Formerly known as Sister Mary Aloysia, Sister Catherine ministered in education as both a teacher and principal for nearly 50 years.

Sister Catherine is survived by her sisters Mary Vitale, Julia Slattery and Jean Vieth, and her sister-in-law, Dorothy Odelehr, and hundreds of Sisters of Divine Providence and Divine Providence Associates. Sister Catherine was born to Aloysius and Julia (Hill) Odelehr on December 13, 1928, in St. Louis, Mo. She entered the Sisters of Divine Providence in St. Louis in 1943 and made her final vows in 1950. She celebrated her 65th Jubilee with the Divine Providence community in 2008. She graduated from St. Louis University in 1955 with a bachelor of science in history, with a minor in government economics. In 1965, she graduated from Notre Dame with a master of music education and a minor in voice.

Services: A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 31 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 751 N. Jefferson St., Florissant. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m on Friday, December 30, with a Rosary wake service at 7:00 p.m., at Hutchens Mortuary, 675 Graham Road, Florissant, Mo. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.