Sister Rachel Doerfler, CSA, baptized Mary Agnes Doerfler, died peacefully on December 11, 2020, at St. Francis Home, Fond du Lac, WI.
Mary Agnes was born in Hays, KS, on July 19, 1923, to Joseph Doerfler and Agnes Staab Doerfler. She had ten siblings, four brothers and six sisters.
Mary Agnes entered St. Agnes Convent in 1938 and made her first profession of vows in the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes as Sister Rachel on August 15, 1942. She received a BS in Education from Marian College in 1953, an MA in English from Notre Dame University in 1963, an MA in Teaching Religion from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, in 1967.
Sister Rachel’s seventy-eight years of ministry in the congregation included over thirty years as an elementary teacher and principal in WI, NY, and IN, and as a high school religion teacher at Marian High School in Hays, KS. She also served the congregation as directress of postulants, vicar general of the congregation for eight years, and regional coordinator for eight years. While serving on the general council, Sister was director of the CSA formation program and was instrumental in initiating the associate program for the community.
Following a year’s sabbatical in 1990, Sister Rachel served for 23 years in pastoral ministry at St. Louis the King parish in Glendale, AZ, as director of adult faith formation, R.C.I.A., Stephen Ministries, and liturgy/environment. In 2014 she retired to the motherhouse in Fond du Lac where she continued to serve as a volunteer at St. Agnes Hospital and St. Vincent de Paul store while also extending hospitality through prayer, letter-writing to family and friends, creative cards, and reaching out to anyone in need.
When her health began to decline, Sister moved to Nazareth Court and Center until a recent illness necessitated her transfer to St. Francis Home.
Sister Rachel was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Agnes Doerfler, her brothers Alfred and Marvin, her sisters Lucille Befort, Isabel Gabel, Mildred Fitzgerald, and Edna Brown. Sister Rachel’s brother Wilfred also passed away on December 11, 2020. Sister is survived by her brother Harold and her sisters Kathryn Rohr and Annette Seib, her nieces and nephews, and the Sisters of St. Agnes, with whom she lived, prayed, and ministered.
Burial services for Sister Rachel were held at St. Joseph Springs Cemetery, Fond du Lac, WI, on December 14, 2020.
A private Memorial Mass will be held on December 21, 2020, at Nazareth Center Chapel, 375 Gillett St., Fond du Lac, WI, with Father Ken Smits, Capuchin, presiding.
Memorials can be directed to the CSA Mission Advancement Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937.
The Sisters of St. Agnes are grateful to the nurses and staff of Nazareth Court and Center, St. Francis Home, and Hospice Hope for their care of Sister Rachel.
Zacherl Funeral Home is serving the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.
Published on December 21, 2020