Sister Kaalberg was an educator


JOHNSTON, Iowa — Sister Ramona Kaalberg, CHM, 83, died July 3 at Bishop Drumm Retirement Center.

Sister Kaalberg

Ramona Marie Kaalberg was born Feb. 16, 1938, in Iowa City to Frank and Marie Milder Kaalberg. She entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) in 1956 and professed vows in 1959.

She received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Ottumwa Heights College in Ottumwa, a BA in social science from Marycrest College in Davenport, and an MA and PhD in education and psychology from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. She also received a certificate in spiritual direction and directed retreats from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She did post-graduate work at the Institute of Ministry at Loras College in Dubuque and at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California.

Sister Kaalberg’s ministry of teaching began at St. Joseph School in Neola, Iowa. She also taught at St. Alphonsus School in Davenport, St. Anthony School in Des Moines and Sacred Heart School in Ottumwa. Sister Ramona served at the CHM House of Prayer, Project Renewal and as CHM formation coordinator, all in Davenport. She was a member of the Davenport Citizen Advisory Committee, which worked to achieve racial balance in the public schools. She served in the Diocese of Des Moines St. Joseph Educational Center for adult religious education and spiritual formation and as a pastoral minister at St. Anthony Parish there.


She was an associate professor at Marycrest College in Davenport from 1972-1984 and served as CHM president from 1984-1988. The Marycrest Alumni Association gave Sister Kaalberg its College Alumnae Association Service Award in 1981. At the 50th graduation exercises in 1989, Marycrest College presented Sister Kaalberg with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, citing her outstanding leadership roles in higher education.

Sister Kaalberg lived many years in the New Hope Community that she helped initiate in the Des Moines Riverbend Neighborhood. It was a place of caring presence and spiritual renewal where she could exercise her gifts of compassion, hospitality and generosity.

Visitation and a private memorial service were held in Des Moines. A visitation, rosary, vigil service and Mass of Christian Burial were held at Humility of Mary Magnifcat Chapel in Davenport. Burial followed in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport. Memorials may be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.

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