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Sister Lorraine Therese Siminas

(formerly Sister M. Doloria)
March 29, 1934 – October 24, 2020

Lorraine Siminas, the only daughter of Frank and Mary Agnes Siminas, was born in Chicago on March 29, 1934. She had two older brothers, Leonard and Richard. Another brother, Frank, died as an infant. Lorraine grew up in a loving family that was very involved with Our Lady of Vilna Parish in Chicago IL where she was baptized, made her first
communion, and was confirmed.

In a reflection on her life, Sister Lorraine Therese wrote that it was her mother and father who introduced her to God. “Besides explaining the pictures and statues to me in our
church, my mother would take me there when she attended devotions. When my mother prayed the rosary novena, she would have me in front of her in the pew so that I could see the pictures as she turned the pages. My father, too, took me to church when we’d have a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. He would bend down and whisper in my ear in Lithuanian as he pointed to the Host, ‘There is God’.”

Sister Lorraine Therese attended Our Lady of Vilna School where she first met the Sisters of St. Casimir, graduated from Visitation School, and went on to St. Casimir Academy where she met the Sisters of St. Casimir once again and decided to follow God’s call to religious life. On the information sheet she filled out at the time of entrance, when asked whether she had any talents that she had developed, she wrote “music.” Sister Lorraine Therese had a beautiful voice and participated in the Sisters’ choir when very much of our special renditions were in three and four-part harmony.

One of Sister Lorraine Therese’s special memories was how blessed she was to have met Mother Maria when she was a little girl. Her family had a candy store and one day Mother Maria came to the store and joined them in the kitchen in the back room, enjoying the family welcome and probably there on a mission of soliciting funds. Sister Lorraine Therese also shared the memory of accompanying her mother to Mother Maria’s final farewell in the Motherhouse chapel in April of 1940. She was six years old.

On August 15, 1953, Sister Doloria, the name she was given in religious life, made her first profession of vows. She received her Bachelor Degree in Education from Marywood in Scranton, PA in 1960 preparing her well for her many years of teaching, mostly in the primary grades. In 1965 she co-authored with Sister M. Francine and Sister Mary de Sales, a student workbook, “I Want to Learn” and the accompanying Teacher’s Aid Manual, “We Want to Learn.” She was able to use well her education and her experience in the primary grades to prepare these works for publication.

Sister Lorraine Therese received her Masters in Religious Studies from Mundelein College in Chicago, IL in 1976. She was one of seven students chosen to present her thesis/project “Developing Faculty Justice Awareness” at a graduate colloquium to interested faculty and students at Mundelein College in 1976. Sister Lorraine Therese continued to share presentations in justice awareness with the faculty at St Peter and Paul School in Chicago, affirming that her project was designed to do just that—develop justice awareness in the faculty and students. She prepared monthly presentations, highlighting the work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, awareness of poverty and hunger in the world, and a call to action. This work then continued as the faculty had children prepare banners on justice and write a declaration of justice stating what and how they would like to see this in our country in the future. Sister Lorraine Therese also shared her thesis project with the community. On the special occasion of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in in July 1976, she prepared a day of prayerful reflection, penance and fasting.

Sister Lorraine Therese taught in schools in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In Illiinois, she taught at Holy Cross School, Nativity BVM, St. George, St. Peter and Paul, Providence of God, Our Lady of Vilna, St Bartholomew in Waukegan, St. Mary in Plano, St. Norbert in Northbrook, and Sr. Mary in Darien. While at St. Joan of Arc in Maryland, she also served as principal for a short time. Her last assignment was at St. Bede’s in Holland, PA, where she stayed from 1986 until 2005. In 1996, when she retired from full-time teaching she continued to tutor students in need of additional help. In 2005, she moved to Villa Joseph Marie convent and offered her services as a substitute and for tutoring, returning to the Motherhouse in Chicago in 2009. Of her ministry in education Sister Lorraine Therese wrote that the most rewarding experience was sharing God’s love with little children and through them with their parents. “I have also received and learned much from those little ones.”

Sister Lorraine Therese was a people person. She loved to interact with others, to tell stories and enjoy listening to those of others. She had a wonderful irresistible laugh. At Franciscan Village she joined the “coffee clutch” with a group of residents after Mass where there was ample opportunity for companionship and laughter.

An important part of Sister Lorraine Therese’s spirituality centered around her great love for our Blessed Mother. She made the pilgrimage to Medjugorje and was able to pray with many other pilgrims and to be in a place where Mary appeared. She had also visited other places in the U.S. where miraculous things had happened. Sister Lorraine Therese returned home from these pilgrimages eager to share her experience and holding the gift of it all in her heart.

As Sister Lorraine Therese prepared for her 60th anniversary celebration in 2013 she shared: “I am most grateful now for my spiritual development and the education I received as a Sister. As I found God in my family, I have also found God in the schools where I was missioned as teacher and principal. Most of all, I was delighted in finding God in the children I taught. I think of them often and pray for them. I try to still bring God to others, as well as meeting God in others, as I go about my daily tasks. This gives me great joy because God has been good and generous to me. Holy is His name.”
We thank God for Sister Lorraine Therese and the life she shared with us.

Sister Lorraine Therese is survived by several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Her parents, Frank and Mary Agnes (Dranginis) Siminas, and her brothers Frank Siminas, Leonard (Violette) Simmons, and Richard (Barbara) Siminas, preceded Sister Lorraine Therese in death.

Living member of Sister Lorraine Therese’s Profession Class:
Sister Mary Lawrence Puishys

Deceased members of Sister Lorraine Therese’s Profession Class:
Sister M. DeChantal Brazus
Sister Mary de Sales Sokol
Sister M. Agnese Chapp
Sister Maria Casimira Vilkevicius

Wake Service and Visitation: 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Nativity BVM Church,
69th and S. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, IL

Mass of the Resurrection: 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Nativity BVM Church
69th and S. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, IL

Celebrant: Rev. Bob Lucas, CM
Organist: Gia Sokas
Interment: Saint Casimir Cemetery
Funeral Director: David Gaidas