Salvatorian Sister Georgene Faust’s lifelong dedication to education began in 1945 at Catholic Schools staffed by schools staffed by the Sisters of the Divine Savior. In Wisconsin, these schools were Mother of Good Counsel, Milwaukee, St. Pius X, Wauwatosa, Holy Ghost, Dickeyville, and St. Paul School, Bloomer. She also taught at schools in Maryland: St. Mary in Landover Hills, St. Joseph in Beltsville, and Holy Family in Randallstown. In 1988, she chose to go to Phoenix, Arizona as principal of St. Matthew School. This was an inner-city school where most families had recently arrived from Mexico. It was during the time Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) took a leadership role in the Phoenix area. The members were all professionals who were interested in systemic change. Sister Georgene was an active member of VIP. The guiding principle was, “Don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.” She retired from St. Matthew in 1994.
Sister Georgene then continued to be an educator in a new setting. She started spending 20 hours a week working with adults who couldn’t read or write. The setting was “anywhere possible,” which meant such places as apartment lobbies and borrowed classrooms after hours. At the same time, she was on a mission to find others to join her. Alongside of this, she did various other interim ministries such as at Calvary Rehabilitation Center with drug & alcohol addicted youth and adults, assisting disabled people in their homes, spending time with a child who had serious psychological problems so the parents could have time away, and childcare for parents with a disabled child. In the spring of 1997, her parish, St. Francis Xavier, began a Parish Vocation Committee which she joined.
Learning for Life (LFL), a literacy outreach ministry began in 1995 as a collaborative effort with St. Francis Xavier Parish and other agencies. In the late 1990s, Sister Georgene became the program director for LFL. Within four years, the program had hundreds of individuals attending classes. Many who attended found employment and others had received their citizenship. She also taught students at the Multi-Sensory Reading Class at Rio Salado’s Adult Learning Center for many years. It was clear that as a Sister of the Divine Savior she has walked many paths and interacted with many communities. She stated that she found “the goodness and kindness of Jesus, the Savior in the poor, the financially well and in the educationally poor.” She stated that a scripture passage that spoke to her was always, “Lord, you know that I love you.” No matter what happened, this was the passage that guided her through the years.
In response to the question, “What does your faith mean to you and what are you doing about it?” Sister Georgene stated, “This [LFL] program is what it’s all about. Not just reacting to issues but working within the community to bring about change.” When she celebrated her golden jubilee, she stated, “I have shared a full and happy life as a Sister of the Divine Savior. The entire Faust family has always been active members of the church; therefore, my life has been a continuation of service within the church through the Sisters of the Divine Savior.”
Sister Georgene (birth name: Sylvia) was born on September 16, 1925, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. She was one of 14 children, born to Adam and Mary (Dorn) Faust. Her extended family was deeply religious. She had an uncle, Fr. Frederick Dorn, SDS, three aunts, and six first cousins who were religious, and two older siblings who became Sisters of the Divine Savior – Sisters Phyllis and Rita Faust.
She attended Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Kiel, Wisconsin. On August 31, 1941, at the age of 16, she entered the congregation, and was received into the novitiate on August 12, 1942. She professed her first vows on August 13, 1943, and final vows on August 13, 1949.
Sister Georgene received her secondary education at Divine Savior Convent High School. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marquette University with a major in administration and a minor in counseling. She spent her entire religious and professional years teaching or as a school administrator.
She lived in Phoenix for many years before deciding to move back to Milwaukee in 2021 to join the Salvatorian Sisters Residence community. Shortly before moving, she was involved in an accident that resulted in broken cervical vertebrae. Her final days were spent at St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus as she worked toward recovering from her injuries. Sister Georgene went home to God unexpectedly, but peacefully, on October 25, 2021, at the age of 96 and professed for 78 years.
Sister Georgene was preceded in death by her parents Adam and Mary (Dorn) Faust, her brothers, Joseph (Cyrilla), Peter (Seraphine), Alvis (Rogene), Benedict (Natalie), Alphonse (Imelda), Leo (Germaine), Leon (Nancy); her sisters Elizabeth (Joseph) Melger, Sister Phyllis Faust, SDS, Gertrude (Wilfred) Heimann, Sister Rita Faust, SDS, and brother-in-law, Norman Ludowissi. She is survived by her sisters Margaret (Edwin) Steinert, and Jane Ludowissi, many nieces, nephews and the Salvatorian family. Private services were held.