On February 20, 1942 Catherine (Sebeneck) and Albert Kaufman were anxiously awaiting my arrival, their first child. I was born at 5:35pm that afternoon. I was baptized at St. Michael’s Church in Findlay, Ohio on February 22 and given the name of Marlene Ann. Within 8 years I became big sister to Kenneth, Harold, Joseph, Bonita and Henry.
I don’t remember much about my mother. She was killed in an auto accident on July 8, 1950 on the way to the hospital for the delivery of Henry. She was killed instantly and Henry was born at the scene. Dad survived and was in a very serious state. Henry was kept in the hospital for a long time, so dad would come to realize he had a son. I do remember the nurses at the hospital taking some of us kids up the back steps so dad could see us as he had been unconscious for a long time and he had lost some of his memory. I was only 8 and don’t remember a lot. Sometime after the accident Harold and Joe went to live with the Verhoffs, Bonnie and Henry went to live with the Siebenecks. Life changed fast.
Sometime after this Dad, Ken and I went to live with Grandma Kaufman. Harold, Joe, Bonnie and Henry came when it was time to attend school. We played a lot of baseball, cleaned a lot of chickens, did garden work, house work and many other chores that needed to be done on the farm. We didn’t have much but had a good time.
I attended grade school at St. Mary’s in Leipsic; St. Nicholas in Miller City; and Sacred Heart in New Bavaria. Then I entered St. Francis High School in 1956. I guess the calling to Religious life was always there and I knew my cousin Sr. Margaret Verhoff.
In 1960 1 became a Novice and for clothing I wore my mother’s wedding dress which I was so proud to do and it fit me very well. I then became Sr. Mary Kateri. In 1967 1 made profession of vows. Through the years I served as housekeeper at North Auburn, Peru, Custer and Millersville. I worked in the Sisters’ Kitchen for a few years and then in the sewing room making habits for the Sisters. Following that I went to Carey working at the shrine as sacristan, and then at the shrine cafeteria. I truly enjoyed meeting all the pilgrims and had a good time.
In 1967 moved to Paducah, Ky. and worked at Toddlers Inn for 35 years. I loved caring for the little ones and even learned how to put cloth diapers on the babies-what an experience! Through the years I went to being cook and learned how much food to make.
Later I continued serving by doing babysitting (especially for 3 boys, Scott, Jason, and Blake Summarell and then their children), cleaning house and ironing for people.
Over the years I have cross-stitched many pieces for family and friends and have crocheted a lot of baby blankets for Lourdes Hospital’s gift shop, and lap robes for Hospice. I have always been busy with my hands.
I volunteered at the Luther F. Carson Performing Arts Center as usher. I really enjoyed greeting everyone and seeing so many people I hadn’t seen in years but who often remembered me. We became a family down there. The Lord has called me to serve Him in many different ways.
I also served as sacristan and Eucharistic Minister at St. Thomas More Parish. I have been blessed with such a loving and caring Community of Sisters, family and friends.
As I look back on my life there are many highlights, both happy and sad—mom’s death, jubilee celebrations, volunteering, and a very loving family with 33 nieces and nephews and 70 great nieces and nephews. We sure do have a good time when we get together.
Prayer has always been important in my life with the hour of Adoration and an hour of prayer. People often asked me to pray for them. One person said that I have a special link to God.
Living are my brothers Ken (Rose Ann), Harold (Mary Jane), Joe (Diane), Henry (Jane) Kaufman and my sister Bonnie (Bill) Schnipke.
Preceding me in death are my parents, Catherine and Albert Kaufman, step-mother Josephine (Recker) Kaufman, nieces, Brenda Scheckelhoff and Angie Schumaker, nephew, Allan Kaufman, and great nephew-Keith Wrasman.
God sent Sister Death to invite me home on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Together we are having a grand home-coming celebration. May the Lord bless all my family and friends who are still waiting for their special day. I love all of you!!!