Sister Marie Rudegeair

Sister Marie Rudegeair died on February 1, 2024 and was buried at Saint Joseph Villa on February 7, 2024. Marie Louise Rudegeair was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, to Leo and Marie Rudegeair. She suffered loss early in her life. Her mother died when she was a freshman followed by her father in Marie’s senior year. She encountered the Sisters of Saint Joseph when she attended St. Mary Elementary School and then in Lebanon Catholic High School. After attending college for a year at Misericordia College in Dallas, PA, Marie decided to enter the the Sisters of Saint Joseph. As Sister Madeleine Sophie, she began her ministry as an elementary teacher. However, her math skills propelled her to high school. One of her former students wrote recently to tell her that “no other teacher I ever had, had such a big impact on my life.  Your teaching and example gave me the best foundation for life and learning that any child could ever have.” Another student fondly recalled that he was a poor reader, but Sister always told him that he was smart. He went on to prove her right. As a high school math teacher, Marie was serious and kind. Whether in the classroom or at the basketball games, she genuinely enjoyed her students. In recent years, when reminded that she taught me, she would ask if she was a good teacher. When the response was positive, Marie would boast a big, beautiful, sincere smile”.

Marie spent many wonderful years in ministry at Saint Joseph Villa. In 1987, she was missioned as assistant Administrator and became lead Administrator a little more than a year later. Marie recruited sisters to work as aides and volunteers. She pushed certification for all staff and focused on quality service along with deeply building community at the Villa. She had the ability to make difficult decisions for the well-being of the Villa sisters. As example to this attention to detail, Marie reviewed the daily menu with magic marker. When she learned the sisters had ham butt for Christmas dinner, she fired the food service manager. This dedicated administrator always kept herself and her sisters “in the loop,”

Marie never sought attention for herself. Her reward was knowing she was doing her best for God and those she served. She was faithful until the end, and now Marie can live in the fullness of life.