Eastern Mojave Vegetation Field Notes (Continued)  

Tom Schweich  

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2008 Tour de Swertia albomarginata
Mono Lake, August 2008
Literature Cited
 When I first read the field notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg, I was fascinated by the descriptions they wrote about the places they went and the plants and animals they found there. By publishing my field notes on the Internet I hope to follow a little bit in their tradition.





  October 30, 2010: Death of Paul Schweich.
  Dave and Sydney (Shaw) Clough in Hawaii.
  Death of Paul A. Schweich

Full Size ImageRita (Schweich) Gundersen  
Rita (Schweich) Gundersen

Age 83, will be honored on July 11th in Lakeville, MN Rita died peacefully in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 28, 2011. Born Sept. 9, 1928, Rita was the daughter of Jacob and Margaret Schweich. She is survived by her 5 children and their families Patricia (Timothy) Keith, Jean Berg (Kimberly), William Berg (Jim), Richard (Connie) Berg and Catherine Babick, 11 grand and 6 great grand children; brothers Lawrence (Bonnie) Schweich, John (Gloria) Schweich and Robert Schweich; sisters-in-law Betty Schweich, Arlene Schweich and Mary Schweich and brother-in-law Gary Frighetto. She dearly loved her family and cherished each and every friend. Rita will be remembered for her generosity, beautiful smile and enthusiasm for life. July 11th, 2012: There will be a 10:00AM Reception at All Saints Catholic Church, 19795 Holyoke Ave., Lakeville, MN followed by 10:30AM Rosary and 11:00AM Mass. Rita will be laid to rest at All Saints Cemetery in Lakeville after Mass. Please join Family and Friends at the Chart House in Lakeville following the Services.

Full Size ImageSister Ramona Schweich  
Mankato Mortuary
1001 N. Riverfront Drive
Mankato, MN 56001

Our beloved Sister M. Ramona Schweich, 89, died peacefully at 3:01 p.m., Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Notre Dame Health Care Center, Good Counsel Campus, Mankato, Minnesota. Several sisters and her niece, Susan Woodwick, were with her when she died.

The funeral Mass for Sister Ramona, with Fr. Paul Nelson and Fr. Charles Quinn as co-presiders, will be on Monday, March 19, at 10:30 a.m. in Good Counsel Chapel, followed by burial in our cemetery. The vigil service will be at 7:00 p.m. on March 18. Loving sympathy to her sister, Jeanette Fox, and her brother, Ralph, her nieces and nephews and their families, her former students and colleagues, and her sisters in community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Ramona was preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Susan Schweich, a sister, Monica, and brothers, Roman and Gerald.

Sister Ramona was born August 17, 1922, on the family farm near New Trier, Minnesota, and given the name Mildred Margaret. She described her first days, “The first three days of my sojourn on earth, I slept constantly and didn't cry at all. Early on August 20, the doctor advised that I be baptized since he feared I would never be able ‘to throw off sleep.'” She was the fifth child in the family; however, since one had died in infancy, there were now four children, two boys and two girls, in the family. When Mildred was six months old, their home burned and all contents were lost. No one was hurt, but for the next eighteen months, the family lived in temporary housing, either with relatives or in a made-over granary. Two more children were born later.

Mildred experienced strong family love as she was growing up. She wrote, “I used to pray that I would be the first one to die in my family because I thought I could never go on living if anyone in the family died.” She loved living on the farm, and always considered herself a “country girl.” For eight years she attended St. Mary's School, New Trier, where she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. During the winter months, the Schweich children usually boarded at the convent during the week. In her autobiography, Sister Ramona related an incident during her grade school years that directly impacted her choice of vocation: “When I was about ten years old, Reverend Mother Almeda from Germany visited America [1933]. My dad was asked to take the New Trier sisters to see her. When she heard that he had three daughters, she gave him three holy cards and said that some day she wanted to claim one of them as a School Sister of Notre Dame. That holy card haunted me and eventually I thought being a sister was a good idea. Sisters Tharcisia [Weingaertner], Seraphica [Guter], and Seraphine [Hochhausen] had a profound influence on me. Sister Seraphine was a fun person, and she was a good teacher. She was very strict, but always fair and just.”

In 1936, Mildred enrolled as a freshman aspirant at Good Counsel Academy, Mankato. She graduated in 1940 and entered the candidature the following September. In 1942 she was received into the novitiate and given the name Sister M. Ramona. She professed first vows on July 22, 1943. Later that summer she received her first teaching assignment: junior high grades at St. Andrew, St. Paul, where she stayed until 1946. In the following years she taught junior and senior high students, often in the fields of religion, math and science, in several schools: St. Felix, Wabasha (1946-47); St. Mary, Madelia (1947-50); Guardian Angel/Notre Dame Academy, Colton, Washington (1950-54); St. Peter, New Haven, Iowa (1954-56); St. Peter, Hokah (1956-60); Loyola High School, Mankato (1960-64); St. Agnes, St. Paul (1964-1969); and Cotter High School, Winona (1969-70). During these years, she earned a bachelor's degree in English from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul (1949) and a master's degree in education from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington (1956). She also earned several post-graduate credits in a variety of subjects.

Sister Ramona became campus minister at the Moorhead State College Newman Center in 1970. When one of the faculty members died unexpectedly, Sister Ramona was asked by the college administration to take the vacancy, which she did. One of her colleagues recalled, “Sister Ramona made many contributions, in terms of her teaching, but perhaps even more in her impromptu and intentionally non-structured counseling. She would take time to be available to students in the Student Union, or the Snack Bar or lounge, where they would be able to visit with her on an ostensibly casual basis, unobtrusively asking for her help while not appearing to be seeking assistance.”

In 1971, Sister Ramona became principal of Good Counsel Academy in Mankato, a position she held until 1973. At that time, she was diagnosed with lymphoma, and the prognosis was not good. In fact, she began preparing for death, and wrote about this in A Little Wine, the book that she and Father Paul Halloran co-authored in 1974. In the introduction, she wrote, “The articles in this volume are Father Paul Halloran's – written by him, alive, vibrant, and on the move. To each of these articles I have added a concrete thought ‘for the day' written as I sit here preparing for death. The articles are from a person full of life; the resolutions are penned by one who is in full view of death.” In actuality, her chemotherapy treatment was successful, and in a second collaboration, A Little More Wine, (1977) Sister Ramona expressed her appreciation to medical personnel for their role in bringing the lymphoma into remission. As she regained her health, Sister Ramona became the Coordinator of the Mankato Campus of Mount Mary College (1973-77) and an educational consultant for the Winona Diocese (1975-76). In 1977, she was welcomed back as principal of Good Counsel Academy. An October 1977 St. Paul Pioneer Press article featured Good Counsel and described Sister Ramona as “the new, new principal of just a few weeks. Hearty, ebullient, positive, Sister Ramona mirrors the enthusiasm with which the School Sisters of Notre Dame underscore that word – SCHOOL – in the name of their order.”

Sister Ramona stayed at Good Counsel for one year, and then became high school counselor at Loyola in Mankato (1978-83). In 1983, at the request of the pastor at SS. Peter & Paul, she began another ministry, that of pastoral worker, a position she held until 1991. She was recognized by the Mankato YWCA in 1986 as a Leaderdinner Award winner for her “help and ministry that reached beyond the parish. She has established numerous support groups which serve a variety of community needs, including parenting, marriage, divorce and chemical dependency counseling, and dealing with loss.” From 1991 until 1993, Sister Ramona assisted at Good Counsel Education Center as director of residents and pastoral minister.

Looking forward to retirement, Sister Ramona moved to St. Dominic Parish, Northfield, in 1993. After a sabbatical year, she served in part-time parish ministry until 2003. She remarked that she was looking for a place with rural ties. Northfield fit that description, and the parish appreciated the many ways she ministered to them.

After a short stay at Guardian Angels, Oakdale, Sister Ramona came to Good Counsel in 2004. She continued her outreach as much as she was able, and stayed in contact with family and friends via letters, phone and e-mail. She was a very welcoming presence to all who stopped by her room for a visit.

Throughout her life, Sister Ramona lived out three words, “God is love.” May she now enjoy the fullness of that love for all

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Date and time this article was prepared: 3/31/2020 1:30:41 PM