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Sister M. Stella Van Winkle O.P.

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Sister M. Stella Van Winkle, O.P. Sister Stella Van Winkle, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael for 59 years, died after a long illness at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent on January 26 at the age of 82. Born and raised in Merced, California, Ann Van Winkle was the daughter of Walton and Monica (Flannery) Van Winkle. Although her parents were not religious, they sent Ann to Dominican Convent boarding school at age seven. Ann enjoyed her early exposure to the Old Testament and the teachings of the Catholic Church. During a time that she was seriously ill, she prayed that she might live and eventually be baptized. Shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ann's father died. Financial considerations necessitated her return to Merced where she went to school. She was able to return to Dominican Upper School, as a junior and a baptized Catholic, in 1946. Following graduation Ann attended college in Texas, taught for one year, and returned once more to San Rafael, enrolling in Dominican College as a graduate student. In 1954, fourteen years after her first arrival in San Rafael, Ann entered the convent. She took the name Sister Stella in honor of her first teacher in the lower school. Sister Stella spent forty-seven years of ministry in education, primarily teaching students in grades 6 to 8. She was greatly respected and appreciated in schools including St. Leander in San Leandro, St. Cyril in Oakland, and Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City. She also taught math and science at St. Catherine of Siena School in Vallejo for six years and volunteered for five more years as a math tutor. In 2007 Sister Stella returned to live in San Rafael. Sister Stella's life was enriched and broadened by travel. In 1976 she and Sister Lorraine Pagendarm took a 10,680 mile long cross-country trip by Greyhound bus to mark the country's bicentennial and visit family members. A yearlong sabbatical twenty years later also gave her opportunities to travel, including a "roots" trip to Holland. Sister Stella's interest in genealogy led her to compile many years of research into a book of family history for future generations. Sister Stella was predeceased by her parents, Walton and Monica Van Winkle, and her brothers, Walton Van Winkle, Matthew Van Winkle, and her sister, Mary Van Winkle. She is survived by her nieces, Tina Macbeth, Sophie Chastinet, Terry Kinney, Annie Van Winkle, her nephews, Pieter Van Winkle, Julian Taggert Van Winkle, Walton Van Winkle, and Matthew Van Winkle, by many grand-nieces and grand-nephews of whom she was very fond, and by her Dominican sisters. The funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, February 8 at 1:00 p.m. at the Dominican Sisters Center, 1520 Grand Avenue in San Rafael. Sister Stella will be buried in St. Dominic Cemetery in Benicia on Monday, February 10 at 11:00 a.m. Memorial contributions for the Sisters Retirement Fund may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Development Office, 1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA, 94901. Monte's Chapel Of The Hills San Anselmo 415-453-8440
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Feb. 6, 2014
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