Sister Louise Rausch, SDS was professed 71 years as a Sister of the Divine Savior. The variety of her ministries during those years gives testimony to how she modeled using “all ways and means” to bring the goodness and kindness of Jesus to all.
Sr. Louise began teaching in 1951. Her 22-year education ministry took her to Wisconsin elementary schools staffed by the Sisters of the Divine Savior, including St. Joseph, East Bristol; Holy Name, Wausau; St. Paul, Bloomer; St. Mark, Rothchild; Holy Ghost, Dickeyville; and St. Therese, Schofield. She also taught in Lakeville, Minn.; Sisseton, S. Dak.; and Landover Hills, Md., where St. Mary’s School came to hold a special place in her heart.
Sister Louise received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Alverno College in Milwaukee. In 1973, she returned to school to earn a certificate in Cosmetology at Edward’s Coed Beauty College in Milwaukee. She then became the beautician for St. Mary’s Nursing Home residents, including elder Salvatorian Sisters. Sr. Louise nurtured relationships with the people she served, and strived to instill a sense dignity in them. Providing beautician services rewarded her with seeing others feel good about themselves.
Louise was born on February 15, 1930 to George and Cecilia (Freiburger) Rausch in the Township of Rupert, Idaho, Diocese of Boise. She was the eighth of 10 children, and grew up on a farm. Louise attended Empire Elementary School, then Rupert High School for two years. During that time, she thought seriously about religious life. Eventually, she followed the example of four siblings, two of whom became Salvatorians, Sister Rosalie Rausch, SDS and Brother Fidelis Rausch, SDS. The others were Abbot Conrad, OSB and Sister De Porres, RSM.
Louise entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior on August 17, 1946. As an aspirant, she completed her secondary education at Divine Savior Convent High School. On August 12, 1948 she entered the novitiate and received the religious name Felice. She professed her first vows on August 13, 1949 and final vows six years later.
In 1975, Sr. Louise received permission to join her sister, Sr. Helen Rausch, RSM (formerly De Porres) at Mercy Manor foster home for girls in Nampa, Idaho. While serving at Mercy Manor, she also assisted in the Nursing Service Office at Mercy Medical Center. After Mercy Manor closed, Sr. Louise continued working at Mercy Medical Center until she returned to the Milwaukee area in 1977.
Upon her return, Sr. Louise took up a variety of ministries, again as beautician at St. Mary’s Nursing Home and Sunrise Nursing Home. She also helped a widowed father with his three children. Beginning in 1982, she spent five years in Huntsville, Ala. as the secretary for St. Joseph (Holy Family) School. When she came back to Milwaukee in 1987, Sr. Louise was open to serving wherever there was a need, once again as a beautician at St. Mary’s Nursing Home, assisting in the Province Archives, and serving as receptionist and driver for our elder sisters at Salvatorian Heights, and at St. Mary Convent in St. Nazianz, WI.
Sr. Louise also volunteered for 13 years as an ESL teacher at Milwaukee Achievers. She described her work there as “an enriching experience because it provided a better understanding of different peoples and cultures of the world.” Sr. Louise relished seeing her students’ expressions when they understood their lessons, or as she would say, “A light goes on.” She was also grateful for the opportunity through Milwaukee Achievers to bring inspiration, knowledge and a wider understanding for their future in the United States. Clearly, she gave to her students and they gave to her in return.
In 1993, Sr. Louise became a faithful volunteer at St. Anne’s Salvatorian Campus, assisting as a beautician and working in the laundry and White Elephant shop. Her move in 2010 to Salvatorian Sisters Residence adjacent to St. Anne’s made it easy to continue her volunteer ministry there. Her retirement ministry also included knitting layettes, caps and shawls for the poor. “…..each one has a special gift from God, one person this gift, another one that gift.” Chapter 1, verse 7 of Corinthians captures Sister Louise’s spirit to use her special gift in so many ways.