Sister Rose Olive Skehan, MM

Born: September 28, 1908
Entered: December 7, 1931
Died: November 10, 1972

We just received news of the death of our Sister Rose Olive Skehan on November 10, 1972, in Butte, Montana. About 9:15 p.m. Friday we received a call from Father John McCoy, telling us that Sister had died that evening. As many of you knew, since August of this year Sister Rose Olive had been working with a team of religious educators in Butte. She was living with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin.

Sister Ruth Greble and Sister Monica Marie Boyle left here yesterday morning for Butte. Sister Rose Olive’s body was to be brought to the parish church Sunday afternoon where it was to remain until the Mass of the Resurrection this morning. Today our Sisters, together with Sister Diane O’Donnell, are accompanying the body by plane to New York.

Sister Rose Olive (Marion Skehan) was born in Belmont, Massachusetts on September 28, 1908. She entered Maryknoll December 7, 1931, after having received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Boston University earlier that year. She was professed in 1934 and was assigned to Hong Kong, where she taught until she was interned at Stanley in 1941.

Sister was repatriated on the “Gripsholm” in August 1942. She was a person of tremendous drive and energy, and after only a brief stay at the Motherhouse, she was assigned to Hawaii in 1943. She did not reach her mission on Maui until January 1944 because of transportation difficulties due to the war.

Sister had a very real talent in the field of music and taught this subject in school, as well as giving piano lessons after school and on Saturdays. In 1950 Sister Rose Olive returned to Hong Kong, and in 1959 she obtained her Licentiate from the Royal Schools of Music. When she returned to Maryknoll for her decennial in 1960, she attended the Julliard School of Music in New York City. She later returned to Hong Kong and continued her work of developing excellent students of piano. The candidates she presented for examination received very fine commendations from their examiners.

She returned home in 1966 and was asked to remain in the United States for a while, rather than returning to the Orient. She then studied at Boston University and in 1970 received her degree of Master of Science in Public Relations.

During the past two years Sister explored many possibilities in the field of education. She desired to work as a program organizer for community development projects or as a social researcher, educator involved in creative curriculum development, but discovered that such opportunities were not forthcoming. She finally decided to accept the position in Butte.

Sister’s body will be brought to the Center tomorrow afternoon, and we will have the Office of the Resurrection tomorrow evening. The funeral Mass will be at 11:30a.m. on Wednesday, November 15.

Sister’s only brother will not be able to attend the funeral. I know you will pray for Sister and for her brother as we join together to celebrate the Eucharist during these days.