Sister Rosalinda Grigonis
Sister Rosalinda was born in Gary, IN, on September 15, 1922, to Anna and Casimir Grigonis. She was the youngest of nine children. She once described herself as a very energetic, redhead Tom Boy who raced the neighborhood streets on skates. This energy did not subside as she became a teenager.
One afternoon she and her high school friend, who would later become Sister Evelyn Vichuras, went out for a bike ride, and before they realized it, they were in Chicago. Since they had come that far, they had the idea to see where the Sisters of St. Casimir lived. They continued pedaling on, finally reaching Marquette Road. Not knowing where to go, they knew it had to be near. And moving on, when to their astonishing eyes, there it was, the Motherhouse with the green tower. They pedaled back to Gary. Only years later they told their parents where they were that fine day!
Sister Rosalinda recalled her vocation story most recently in 2016 when she celebrated her 75th diamond jubilee as a Sister of St. Casimir. She said her parents and the Sisters of St. Casimir who were at their parish played a big part in her decision to enter religious life. Her parents were good, God-loving, hard-working people who experienced the Great Depression. They were loyal parishioners of St. Casimir Church in Gary, IN, who, despite their financial struggles, helped to build the new St. Casimir church and school. For Sister Rosalinda, God brought people and events into her life for the evolution of God’s life in her.
Finally, on St. Anne’s Feast Day, July 26, 1938, Mother Maria Kaupas received Sister Rosalinda as a Postulant of the Sisters of St. Casimir. She was privileged to know Mother Maria during the last years of her life. Sister Rosalinda saw first-hand Mother Maria’s sanctity, wisdom, and knowledge, and she learned from her.
As Sister Rosalinda reflected on her life at the time of her diamond jubilee, she wrote:
“Wherever I went, my personal Mother Maria motto guided me:
Silently let us fulfill God’s will,
Silently let us alleviate our neighbor’s burden.”
Sister Rosalinda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Marywood College and her Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from DePaul University. She spent four summers completing coursework funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. All her studies prepared Sister Rosalinda well for her ministry.
Sister Rosalinda’s assignments included 30 years ministering in elementary schools in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Sister Rosalinda taught at Our Lady of Vilna School (Chicago, IL), Providence of God School (Chicago, IL), Saints Peter and Paul School (Rockford, IL), Immaculate Conception School (Chicago, IL), Holy Cross School (Mt. Carmel, PA), St. Anthony School (Cicero, IL), Our Lady of Guadalupe School (Clovis NM), Nativity BVM School (Chicago, IL), Saints Peter and Paul School (Chicago, IL), St. George School (Chicago, IL), St. Joseph School (South Chicago, IL), and St. Mary School (Clarendon Hills, IL).
Sister Rosalinda also spent six years as principal at Saints Peter and Paul School in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood. In 1971 she began her 11 years of ministry at Maria High School as math teacher and later as assistant principal. In 1989 she began serving as assistant to the general treasurer.
In addition to touching the hearts and minds of many young people over the years, Sister Rosalinda had a wonderful way of reaching out to her co-workers and her Sisters in community. She shared with them little words of wisdom that were just the right words at the right time. Sister Rosalinda took her ministry of prayer and presence to heart as she went about letting her sisters and others know that she was praying for them and that whatever message she enclosed in any card she sent would be just the right words for those who received the card.
In the evening of October 9, 2018, Sister Rosalinda peacefully went home to God after loving and serving God for 77 years as a Sister of St. Casimir. The Sisters are grateful to Sister Rosalinda for sharing her winning smiles, her kind words, and her life with them. May she rest in peace.