When Sr. Rachel Wallace, SDS celebrated her golden Jubilee of profession in 2009, she was serving as wellness coordinator for the Sisters of the Divine Savior North American Province. At the time, she said, “There is this feeling of tremendous gratitude for my life, and that I have already received the hundredfold. Salvatorians are my friends who have helped stretch me to great growth. There is no community I would rather be with.”
As wellness coordinator, Sr. Rachel supported Salvatorian Sisters facing health issues by accompanying them to doctors’ visits, taking notes, picking up prescriptions, and advocating for them when they were hospitalized. Speaking from experience, one sister described her this way:
“Sister Rachel has been there by my side to interpret challenging medical news. She’s been a gentle and compassionate companion during painful hours in the hospital. She’s been a passionate advocate with doctors and nurses when she believed quality care was lacking. In summary, she’s been an angel of mercy in our midst.”
From student nurse to instructor and supervisor, Sr. Rachel was always drawn to this healing profession. Her mother Adelaide was a nurse, and suggested St. Mary’s School of Nursing run by the Sisters of the Divine Savior in Wausau, Wis. Sr. Rachel earned a diploma from St. Mary’s, followed by a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marquette University, Milwaukee, and a master’s degree in nursing from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Sr. Rachel’s nursing ministries took her all over the map. She served as a supervisor and instructor at St. Mary’s Hospital and Wausau Tech; instructor at Catholic University; instructor at University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh and Milwaukee; and at Saginaw (Mich.) State University. She also served as Councilor to the SDS Generalate in Rome, Italy and on the North American Provincial leadership team. Her last six years in full-time ministry were devoted to parish nursing in Portage, Briggsville, Monches and North Lake, Wis.
In 2009, Sr. Rachel summed up her first 50 years as a Salvatorian, saying, “My life has been blessed in my family, friends and community. I live with expectancy as newness and new challenges continue to come. My life exploded with possibilities when I entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior. Community living is about relationships. I have learned how to love others and accept people as they are.”
Sr. Rachel was professed 59 years with the Sisters of the Divine Savior at the time of her death.