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Bertille Prus

1919 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Bertille Prus Obituary
April 4, 1919 - August 13, 2016 Sister Bertille Prus, SSS, passed into eternal life on August 13, 2016 at the age of 97. She was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in a close-knit family of seven siblings - two boys and five girls. Even as a youngster, she was an avid storyteller. Her mischievous smile and sparkle were infectious - and her quick wit served her well as she grew older. After high school, she was called to religious life and entered the Sisters of Social Service novitiate in L.A. in 1938, where her sister, Sr. Elizabeth Prus, was already a part of the community. Sr. Bertille received her B.A. from Immaculate Heart College in 1944 and later her M.S.W. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1950. She made her first vows on May 24, 1942 and her final vows on June 1, 1952 adopting the motto, "Pray and Work that God may be glorified in all things." Her strong sense of purpose, deep family roots and her faith provided an excellent foundation for her social work education and ministries that followed in Northern and Southern California. Indeed, family was at the core of her life and the ministries with which she engaged. She, together with Sr. Elizabeth, regularly visited relatives in Portland and attended family reunions. She delighted in any time she could talk with family or friends - and even learned to use Skype in her 90s to connect more easily with her sister, Bea. Her early ministry work included family visits and group work, and supporting families as a caseworker with L.A. Catholic Welfare Bureau. She spent time working with troubled teens at Stanford Home, and several years with Catholic Social Service in Vallejo and San Rafael. When she began her work with Holy Family Adoption Agency in 1963, many say she found her true life's work. For three decades, she was the Executive Director of Holy Family. During her tenure there, she advocated on the local and systemic level to create best practices for all involved in the adoption process. She not only embraced the vast changes within her field, but served as a vital catalyst to better serve families involved in the adoption process -adoptive parents as well as birth parents. She helped develop new programs such as international adoptions, post-delivery and post-adoption counseling, special needs adoptions, search assistance and a birth parent medical fund. She was a founding member of the California Association of Adoption Agencies. She was directly responsible for seeing the placement of more than 5,000 babies into loving, caring homes during her years at Holy Family. When describing Sr. Bertille, a parent shared that she "walked beside the young, the old, the great, the small, the rich and the poor, embracing each as a friend." In addition to her ministry work, Sr. Bertille served on the leadership council of the Sisters of Social Service from 1982-1986. Sr. Bertille brought a steadfast heart and deep loyalty to the Sisters of Social Service, always willing to meet the needs of her community. Her wit and zest for life will be deeply missed by her beautiful family, the SSS Community and staff, and all whose lives she touched. There will be a Vigil on Tuesday, August 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Spirit Retreat Center, 4316 Lanai Road, Encino, CA 91436. Mass of the Resurrection will be on Wednesday, August 24 at 10 a.m. Burial information will be available at the mass. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sr. Bertille's memory to the Sisters of Social Service at the address above.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 20 to Aug. 21, 2016
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