PEORIA HEIGHTS - Sister M. Bernadette Kouri, 55, passed away at 1:25 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014, at the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of John the Baptist in Peoria Heights in the 29th year of her Religious Life.
She was born on March 6, 1959, in Detroit, Mich., as the eighth of 14 children of Raymond and Louise (Knoblock) Kouri.
At an early age, she felt a call to religious life and entered the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi in Lacon, Ill., on Aug. 11, 1982, making her profession of vows on March 19, 1985. Sister Bernadette served at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon as the personnel and payroll coordinator, as well as in other managerial positions, until 2005. She had a great love for children and very much enjoyed teaching religion classes. In 2006, she became one of the founding members of the Franciscan Sisters of John the Baptist in Peoria.
Due to her many illnesses, for a number of years, she was immersed in the apostolate of prayer and suffering, which she carried out with complete abandonment. She offered her suffering for God's glory, and a countless number of people benefited from her patient and hidden life of sacrifice.
For those who knew her, she was an inspiration and an encouragement in their own trials. She truly was an instrument in God's hands. Her love for God overflowed into her love for others. Sister Bernadette's loving and generous personality and her joyfulness enriched the lives of all who came in contact with her. She made everyone feel better by her selfless love and concern for them. Her fellow Sisters were blessed to have her in their lives, and they will miss her tremendously.
God blessed her in a special way when her mother; her sister, Annie; brother, Al, and his fiancee, Delores, were able to come for a visit and say good-bye to her before she passed away.
Besides the religious Sisters with whom she shared her life, Sister Bernadette is survived by her mother, Louise Kouri; three brothers; six sisters; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her father, Raymond; one brother; and three sisters.
There will be a Mass of Christian burial celebrated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Peoria Heights. Father Kyle Lucas will officiate. Visitation for Sister Bernadette will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at the church, as well as one hour prior to Mass on Wednesday. Recitation of the Rosary will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in West Peoria.
Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington is handling arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to the retirement fund of the Franciscan Sisters of John the Baptist.
Sister Bernadette's memorial website may be found at www.deitersfuneralhome.com, where condolences may be sent.