Clinton sisters mark milestone anniversaries


For The Catholic Messenger

CLINTON — Five Sisters of St. Francis celebrated milestone anniversaries this year of their entrance into religious life. Marking 70 years in community are Sister Mary Francis Burke and Sister Hilary Mullany; 60-year celebrants are Sister Marcella Marie Narlock, Sister Ida Green and Sister Virginia Krakow. Also, Beverly Goebel and Norma Lindsey are celebrating 25 years as associates. Associates partner with sisters to support and live out their Gospel values.

Kate Marlow
Five Sisters of St. Francis celebrated milestone jubilees July 25 at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. From left are Sister Virginia Krakow, Sister Marcella Marie Narlock, Sister Francis Burke, Sister Hilary Mullany, Sister Ida Green and Bishop Martin Amos.

Bishop Martin Amos presided at Mass to celebrate the special occasion July 25 at Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton.
Sr. Burke was born in Charlotte, the daughter of Martin and Susan Maudie (McClintock). She graduated from St. Joseph High School, DeWitt. Most of her childhood was spent in South Dakota during the Depression years. The family returned to Iowa when her father bought a farm near relatives. She credits her classmate with her calling to the sisterhood, saying, “I believe it was a classmate, Margaret Crow­ley, who awakened faith in me. She would invite me to tag along during Lent while she would make the ‘Way of the Cross!’ This was totally new to me, but eventually I began to realize that Jesus was really there and interested in me!”

Her mother, a Mount St. Clare Academy graduate, took her to Mount St. Clare to register for summer school and a teacher’s certificate. Sr. Burke entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Mount St. Clare Convent after a year of teaching in rural Clinton County. As a sister she received an A.A., B.A., and M.A. and held an Iowa Permanent Profess­ional teaching certificate.


Sr. Burke has served in a variety of ministries, including teaching, administration and health care. During her 38 years of teaching, she was also a principal for 11 years. She served at Sacred Heart School in Clinton, and schools in Victor, Lid­derdale, Perry and DeWitt, Iowa; Chicago, Oak Lawn, Chicago Heights and Rochelle, Illinois; Mays­ville, Kentucky; Reedley, California and Grand Bahama.

Sr. Mullany was born in Macomb, Illinois. “The roots of my vocations were from my family,” she said. “My parents revered the priests and nuns we knew. As a child I loved socializing with the Clinton Franciscans who were operating the hospital in Macomb. They were so lovely. I loved them from the moment I met them!” She found the Clinton Franciscans welcoming and was ready to become a sister when she graduated from high school. Sr. Mullany attended Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1945.

She entered the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis on Sept. 22, 1945. She earned an A.A. from Mount St. Clare College in 1954; a degree in liturgical music from University of Montreal; and a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in theater from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She taught music in the elementary grades and was a teacher of speech and drama at Mount St. Clare Academy and College for 16 years. During this time she produced many plays, musicals and recitals involving students and people from the community. Sr. Mullany served as media coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport for 13 years and also worked on the production of a half- hour television show, Real to Reel, with Franciscan Telecommunications in Los Angeles. She became special assistant to the president of Mount St. Clare College and served as Director of Community Affairs and Continuing Education, Director of Life-Long Learning, Coordinator of Cultural Activities, Alumni Counselor and Director of Communications. She also coordinated the Sister Cortona Phelan Art and Lecture Series.

Sr. Mullany serves on the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre board, and sometimes performs in productions. Ashford University renamed the renovated Little Theater, The Sister Hilary Mullany Theater in 2005. She was a founding member of Sisters United News of the Upper Mississippi Valley. She has been a member of the Davenport Diocese Com­muni­cations Advisory Board, Catholic Relief Services Board and the Diocesan Social Action Committee.

Sr. Narlock remembers wanting to be a sister as a preschooler in Chicago. “My roots were in my Catholic education and in my parents. I grew up in a Catholic home where we said our prayers every night before bed and where attending church was very important,” she said. Sr. Narlock recalls becoming aware of her desire to help children with disabilities while volunteering in high school at an orphanage. “I first noticed children with handicaps when I was in charge of a blind baby boy when I was volunteering at St. Vincent Orphanage in Chicago, my sophomore and junior years,” she said. Although she considered joining the sisters who operated the orphanage, the Sisters of Charity, she felt inspired by her sixth-grade teacher from Clinton.

Sr. Narlock entered the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis on Sept. 8, 1955. She attended Mount St. Clare College and received B.S. and M.S. degrees in speech pathology at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She also studied at St. Xavier and DePaul universities in Chicago. Sr. Narlock holds a National Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Asso­ciation, Illinois certification in Early Inter­vention, Licensure in Iowa and Illinois as a Speech-Language Path­ologist, and an Iowa Permanent Professional Teaching Certificate. She began her career teaching in primary grades at St. Boniface School and St. Gerald School in Oak Lawn, Illinois. After completing her studies in speech pathology, she reopened the Mount St. Clare Speech and Hearing Center and served as director for 43 years until it closed in 2012. She has been working at Providence Therapy Services in Clinton since then.

Sr. Narlock served as Speech-Language Path­ologist at the Alverno Health Care Facility, Mercy Medical Center and Eagle Point Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Clinton, as well. She has worked for nearly 45 years teaching functional speech to individuals with intellectual disabilities at Skyline Center in Clinton where she continues to serve as a Speech-Language Path­ol­o­gist. She volunteers on the board of the Clinton Coalition for Disabled Persons, a group she has been a part of for 39 years.

Sr. Green was born in Clinton, the youngest child of Bernard and Susanna (Kain) Green, and grew up on a farm near Grand Mound with her four brothers and two sisters. She attended Orange Township Country School, St. Ann’s School in Grand Mound where she first met the Sisters of St. Francis, and Mount St. Clare Academy. She graduated from the academy in May 1955. At age 11 she felt called to be a sister and by her senior year she had decided to become a nurse, as well.

“I had romantic notions about joining the Medical Missionaries. Sister Wini­fred, who was very near and dear to me, approached me about joining the Clinton Franciscans and had already made an appointment for me to meet with Mother Regis Cleary, superior general at the time. My heart was set on going to the Medical Missionaries but I kept the appointment in order not to hurt her feelings. Needless to say, I changed my mind and filled out an application before I left Mother Regis’ office.”

Following high school she joined the Sisters of St. Francis. After ministering as a primary school teacher in Iowa and Illinois for eight years, her request to study nursing was granted. She completed a B.S. in nursing at Marycrest College in Davenport in 1968 and served two years as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Burlington and two years as an operating room nurse at Mercy Hospital in Clinton. After receiving an M.S.N. at the University of Colorado, she taught in nursing programs and clinical settings at Loyola School of Nursing and Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois, where she is a professor emerita. In 1999, she completed an M.A. in counseling from Governor’s State Uni­ver­sity in University Park, Illinois.

Sr. Green served in leadership roles for the Sisters of St. Francis and has contributed volunteer service as an advocate providing counseling via a sexual abuse hotline, as a hospitality worker for persons seeking shelter from homelessness, as a catechist for persons with developmental disabilities and as a hospice volunteer. She also participated in a “Nuns Build” for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. As a professor emerita at Prairie State College, she teaches courses on-line and in the nursing lab. She is also the interim sojourner relationship coordinator for the Sisters of St. Francis.

Sr. Krakow was born in Reedley, California. During childhood she attended catechism classes taught by an order of sisters whose motherhouse was in San Francisco. In seventh grade she felt called to religious life. “It came up all the sudden with me,” she recalls. A Catholic school opened in Reedley and she taught catechism there on Saturdays during her junior and senior years of high school. She met and had conversations with Sister Mary Lacy, a Clinton Franciscan, and chose to become a Clinton Fran­ciscan and moved to Iowa after graduation from Reedley High School in 1955.

She entered the Sisters of St. Francis on Sept. 8, 1955. She received a Food Service Supervisor Cer­tificate from the Catholic Hospital Asso­ciation and was certified as a Nurse’s Aide and Home Health Care Provider for both Iowa and Illinois.

Sr. Krakow served for many years in the ministries of food service, elder care and home health care. She spent her early years ministering at Mount St. Clare convent, and after one year in Reedley, she moved to Burlington where she helped staff the Ritter Home, a residence for older women. She served there for 14 years.

In 1990 returned to the Clinton area where she ministered as a home health care aide with Amicare Home Health Services, Inc., Samaritan Health System and Mercy Home Health Care. She spent her last years of full-time ministry with The Alverno, retiring in 2010.

Sr. Krakow continues to serve at The Canticle as sacristan preparing for Masses, as receptionist and as a companion caring for her ill and dying sisters. As a gifted seamstress who taught herself to sew, knit, crochet and cross stitch, she has made countless dresses for children in Africa as well as quilts and wall hangings.

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