Sister Luana Stebbins, OSF


Sister Luana Stebbins, OSF, 79, of Clinton passed away Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at Mercy Medical Center – North Campus.  A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 19th, at The Canticle, Clinton, Iowa with Msgr. Francis Henricksen presiding.  A visitation will occur from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, April 18th at The Canticle, with Rosary at 4:00 p.m. and Scripture Service at 6:30 p.m.  Burial will take place in St. Irenaeus Calvary Cemetery, Clinton, Iowa.  Lemke Funeral Homes is assisting with the arrangements.

Sister Luana Stebbins was born November 8, 1933 in Klamath Falls, Canada, the eldest of three children of Lester Sirl and Volna (Johnson) Stebbins.  Luana graduated from American High School, Mexico City, Mexico in 1951.  After high school, her family moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where she worked in secretarial positions before moving to Riverside, California.

A convert to Catholicism, she was baptized on August 11, 1962, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Riverside, California.  Sister Luana Stebbins joined the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa on September 8, 1964.  She received the name Mary Rose Catherine at her reception on June 13, 1965, later resuming her baptismal name.  She made her first profession on August 12, 1967 and made final vows on August 12, 1970.

After attending Mount St. Clare College, Sister Luana earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, in 1974.  She continued her study of Spanish at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and received a Master of Arts degree in 1976.


Sister Luana used her talents in a variety of ministries.  After teaching sixth grade at St. Margaret Mary School, Chino, California, from 1967 to 1969, she returned to Mount St. Clare College and Academy where her facility in Spanish made her a valued teacher for students from Mexico who were learning English as a second language.  She also assisted in the business office for five years and in the College Development Office for two years.

From 1981-1986, she worked in Chicago, Illinois, in education and in ministry to the poor.   During this time she taught English as a second language, religious education classes, and was interim principal for one year at St. Procopius School.  Her service at Friendship House, where she listened with an open heart and was available to those in great need, was what she considered her most rewarding ministry.

After returning to Clinton in 1986, Sr. Luana continued to serve as volunteer bookkeeper and board member of the Open Door Mission, as data processor at Mount St. Clare Convent, and as part-time receptionist at the Canticle until her failing health caused her to move to The Alverno in June, 2011.

She is survived by her sister, Tamara Carson; her step-mother, Mary Stebbins; and her step-sister, Kathleen Rankin, all of whom reside in Canada.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Rodney.

Her gracious smile and willing spirit will be remembered by all who knew her, but especially by the Sisters of St. Francis with whom she shared her life for almost 49 years.

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