Sister Camille Ordner

We commend to your charity the soul of our beloved

Sister Camille Ordner

who departed this life on August 22, 2012

in the seventy-ninth year of her religious life

Age: 95 years, 5 months, 6 days

Resurrection Service: Friday, August 24, 2012, at 4 p.m.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Viewing in the Community Room at Providence Heights on Thursday, August 23 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. and on Friday, August 24 from noon-3:30 p.m. Wake Service in the Community Room on Thursday, August 23 at 7 p.m. Mass of Resurrection on Friday, August 24 at 4 p.m. in the Mother of Divine Providence Chapel at Providence Heights.

It is fitting that as the Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, Sister Camille completed her life’s journey. The Council, which explored a new way of being Church and urged religious communities to update and explore their founding charisms, shaped the last 50 years of Sister Camille’s religious life. Sister Camille was hospitalized in July with an infection. When she returned from the hospital, she told the Sisters and nurses who cared for her that she was ready to go to God. In this final phase, which lasted about three weeks, she quietly prepared herself, and those around her, for her passing to new life. To the very end, she relied on “community life to support her in her efforts to bring peace, joy and pain to God’s service.” Sister Camille died peacefully at 7 a.m. on the feast of the Queenship of Mary. Sister Camille had a lifelong devotion to Mary, Mother of God.

Dolores Ordner was the third child of Frances Bickar and George Ordner. Both her parents died when she was a year old of the 1918 influenza epidemic. Dolores, along with her brother and sister, were raised by an aunt and uncle whom she described as good and holy people. In fact, she often stated that she first learned about a Provident God by observing and experiencing the kindness of her aunt and uncle to all whom they encountered. Dolores entered the Community from St. Mary’s Parish in McKeesport because she was inspired by the kindness and happiness of the Sisters who taught her. She was given the religious name of Sister Camilla and later changed it to Sister Camille.

Sister Camille’s ministry began in education. She taught for 22 years in the elementary schools of the Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and Detroit Dioceses. She ministered as teacher and guidance counselor at the secondary level for 20 years. She served at Bishop McCourt High School in Johnstown, Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, and Divine Providence Academy in Pittsburgh. Camille started the master’s degree program in counseling and psychology at the University of Dayton soon after the degree was instituted. This degree served her well, not only in her teaching career, but also in later ministries to the Congregation and parishes. Sister Camille served as director of Junior Sisters for four years when the Community had about 100 Sisters in the program. Having been shaped by what came out of the Vatican Counsel, she introduced the young Sisters to communication workshops and the “Up with People” movement. Later, she developed and helped to teach a renewal program, Realm, for the older religious (over 55!). This program, as well as the Juniorate program, she did in the summers while she maintained a full time ministry in school during the academic year. Sister Camille began a second career when she entered parish ministry in 1979. Sister Camille fulfilled her desire to do parish ministry. She started as a parish social minister and later became pastoral associate. In the beginning she was mostly responsible for religious education programs for children, maintaining the “food cupboard” for the poor and visiting parishioners who had special needs. When two parishes in the area of Chicora (St. Joseph and Mater Dolorosa) merged, she became a pastoral associate and was responsible for CCD and RCIA programs, adult faith formation, directing the worship committee, sacramental preparation, training liturgical ministers, and serving as spiritual director for the Legion of Mary program. She also was invited to be a member of the Ministerium of the Chicora and Petrolla (Butler County) areas, designed to bring closer unity of the churches in the area.

Anyone who knew Camille knows that community living has always been one of the most satisfying aspects of her religious life. In her own words, “No matter what form of ministry I was assigned, I was always happy to come back home to community each evening.” She attributes the common charism for the ability of religious to live community because “there is a sense of unity, caring, loyalty, and good will which pervades among us.” May Camille continue to experience the Provident God in her new life whom she knew from her earliest childhood.

Birthday: March 16

Written by Sister Mary Francis Fletcher

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