Always smiling, bustling about and putting others needs before herself. Sr. Cecelia Olle passed away today at 104 at the Racine Dominican Siena Center.
We first met when I wrote her incredible story as she reached the century mark. She impressed me with her quick wit, easy demeanor, and cheerful attitude. On follow up visits, she often greeted me at the door pushing her walker and wearing her favorite pastel pink sweater. To me, she never aged but as weeks melded into months and into years, she seemed to me to resemble a little girl caught in an aging body. She clearly carried the love of Jesus in her heart and soul and that was all I ever saw.
Her passing into the arms of our Heavenly Father were as beautiful as her life as a Dominican sister. The last couple of weeks, she suffered several episodes of fainting spells and doctors determined she needed a pacemaker. A temporary pacemaker was connected, but when the time came for the surgery to implant her permanent one, she had a message for her doctor. “I have prayed and decided that I am tired and don’t want the pacemaker.” I can almost hear her chirpy voice setting her physicians straight and telling them once and for all, she was ready to go home–and at noon today, she went to be with Jesus.
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Below is a story of her 104th year from the Siena Center website:
Sister Cecilia Olle, who celebrated her 104th birthday this year, has crocheted numerous doilies, dish cloths and the tops for over 100 towels in the past year alone. She is the oldest member of the Racine Dominicans, and according to S. Kathy Reichert, who sells S. Cecilia’s creations in the Siena Center card shop, “She is absolutely delightful. When she runs out of towels to work on, she gets on my case to get more – she doesn’t like it when I slow down her production!”
S. Cecilia has been a Racine Dominican for 83 years, and “I have loved my life as a Sister,” she said. She taught classroom and private music lessons from primary through college levels for 65 years – piano, violin, organ and singing. Her ministry in music took her to various schools in Wisconsin and Michigan. She now lives at Siena Center, is an avid reader and daily works on her sewing and crocheting projects for the community.
“Her whole attitude is one of service,” noted S. Kathy. “S. Cecilia is truly one to model your life after.”
Even at age 104, S. Cecilia continues to support the Racine Dominican mission “committed to truth/compelled to justice” in praying for the Sisters and world needs every day.