Remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life. REV 2:10

In Memoriam: Sister Ruth Ellen Dean, D.C.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Ruth Ellen Dean, D.C., was celebrated June 11, 2018, at the Seton Residence Chapel in Evansville, Ind.; burial followed at St. Joseph Cemetery, Evansville. Sister Ruth Ellen died June 6, 2018, at Seton Residence in Evansville. Sister was 82 years of age and 65 years vocation as a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

Born September 6, 1935, in Dallas, Tex., Sister Ruth Ellen was one of seven children born to Alvus Peter and Louise (Thurber) Dean. Sister graduated from Ursuline Academy in Dallas in 1952. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Marillac College, St. Louis, Mo., in 1964; her Master of Arts Degree in Education from George Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn., in 1967; and her Master’s in Religious Education from Loyola University, Chicago, Ill., in 1986.

Sister Ruth Ellen entered the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis, Mo., in January 1953. Following initial formation, Sister taught elementary school at St. Theresa School, New Orleans, (1954 to 1958); Marian School, Montebello, Ca., (1958 to 1962); and St. Patrick School, St. Louis, (1962 to 1966). Sister then served as Headstart Program Supervisor for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, (1966). Following a year as a student and as Education Consultant for Daughters of Charity Shared Services in St. Louis, Sister joined the faculty of Marillac College and served there first as an Education Instructor and then as the Chair of Teacher Education, (1968 to 1976; during this time, Sister was the Local Community Superior at St. Catherine Labouré Residence in St. Louis, [1973 to 1976]).

Sister taught at St. Matthias School, St. Louis, (1976 to 1982) then served as the Director of Religious Education at St. Matthias (1982 to 1984). During her years at St. Matthias, Sister served as the Local Community Superior, (1978 to 1984).

Following a year of study at Loyola University, Sister ministered as Director of Religious Education at Holy Trinity Parish, Dallas, (1985 to 1991); studied Spanish at Casa de La Virgin in Cuernavaca, Mexico, (1991 to 1992); served as Quality Improvement Facilitator at St. Joseph Hospital, Ft. Worth, Tex., (1992); served as Parish Minister at Our Lady of Hope, Gould, Ark., (1992 to 1993); and served as Director of Religious Education at St. Ann Parish, Coppell, Tex., (1993 to 2007). Sister’s next mission was Waco, Tex., (2007 to 2010). Sister lived and volunteered at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton, Mo., (2010 to 2011). She was missioned to Evansville, Ind., where she served as a Teacher Mentor at St. Vincent Early Learning Center, (2011 to 2016); as an Assistant to the Sister Support Specialist at the Mater Dei Campus, (2011 to 2017); and then in the Ministry of Prayer until the time of her death.

Upon hearing of Sister Ruth Ellen’s death, women religious from other congregations shared their fond memories of Sister Ruth Ellen’s instruction during their Marillac College years. Sister Rosalie Wisniewski, former Franciscan Novice Directress, recalled her days at Marillac College. Sister Rosalie shared that over her teaching years, she received many awards for her teaching skills, but she never took credit for them herself. She had been taught by the best—Sister Ruth Ellen!

Sister Ruth Ellen was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Al Dean, Robert Dean, and Frank Dean; her sisters, Mary Lou Dean and Anna Moore. Sister is survived by her sister, Lillian Rose Burford, of Dallas, Tex.; nieces; nephews; her Sisters in Community; and many friends.