If most hometown folk lost track of Lorraine Elizabeth Elverman after she took the name Sister Charitas, it’s not for lack of a life well lived.
Lorraine was born in 1928 on a farm near New Munster, Wis. to Aloysius and Mary (Hunsbuscher) Elverman. She attended Catholic elementary and high schools and then became the private secretary to the purchasing agent at Burlington Mills, Inc. in Burlington, Wis. She entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior community in 1949 and was received into the novitiate a year later, taking Sister Charitas as her religious name. Sister Charitas made first vows in 1951 in Milwaukee and soon after, began studies in nursing. She received her RN from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Wausau, Wis. in 1954 and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. in 1956. That same year, Sister Charitas transferred to the Salvatorian Motherhouse and Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome, Italy, where she professed final vows in 1957.
For the next 38 years, Sister Charitas served in Rome in many capacities, including directress and clinical instructor of the nursing school, consultor in the Roman province and local superior of her religious community. Years ago, Sister Charitas reflected on her international ministries as challenging to her faith, humility and trust in God. At the same time, she said the diverse nationalities, cultures and faith traditions she encountered while serving with the International Hospital and bi-lingual International Nursing School also enriched her life in many ways. She always had an interest in and great love for her community’s worldwide ministries along with needs much closer to home.
Sister Charitas returned to her home province in Milwaukee in 1994. After a year’s sabbatical at the Cabrini Center in Des Plaines, Ill., she began part-time pastoral work at St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus in Milwaukee, a skilled nursing and assisted-living facility sponsored by the Sisters of the Divine Savior. Sister Charitas continued serving the elderly at St. Anne’s until January 2004 when she retired from active ministry.
In June 2007, Sister Charitas moved from the Salvatorian Sisters Residence adjacent to St. Anne’s, when she began to require skilled nursing care. For the next five years, her body grew weaker and she became unable to speak, but her eyes still showed recognition and understanding.
Sister Charitas was professed 62 years as a Salvatorian Sister. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Fr. Donald and Richard Elverman, sister Ruth Poritz Celia, and brothers-in-law Russell Poritz and Ralph Celia. She is survived by her brother Charles (Pat) Elverman, sister-in-law Evelyn Elverman, nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, and sisters, priests, brothers and lay members of the International Salvatorian Family.