Born in Great Falls, Montana on October 10, 1923 Virginia Bartholome (pictured at left) had two brothers. A little over a month later, on November 23, Rosalia Riedel (pictured at right) was born in Milford, Ohio. She had five brothers and one sister. Little did these two families know that Virginia and Rosalia would not only become sisters, but this year, they are honored as the two oldest Sisters of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary as they both turn 97 years old.
Virginia entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1943, and made her first vows in 1946. She was known as Sister Marita. Rosalia entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1945 and made her first profession in 1948. She was known as Sister Mary Andrew. Both women have served the CHMs and the community at large for over 75 years but traveled slightly different paths as CHMs.
Sr. Marita earned a degree in business education and library science. She served as a teacher/librarian at two high schools in Montana. She was the head librarian at Marycrest College in Davenport. She also worked as reference librarian at the Great Falls Public Library in Great Falls. From 1997-2009, Marita volunteered setting up the archives at the University of Great Falls library. Sister Marita changed her name back to Virginia in recent years and now lives at Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, but she’s never far from her Montana roots.
Sister Mary Andrew received a B.A. in elementary education from Marycrest College in Davenport, IA, and 40 years later received a certified nurse’s aide degree from Scott Community College in Davenport. She began her ministry as an elementary school teacher in Iowa which found her in Centerville at St. Mary School, Bettendorf at Lourdes Memorial School, Albia at St. Mary School, Des Moines at St. Theresa, Oskaloosa at St. Mary, Ottumwa at St. Patrick and Sacred Heart School, and Davenport at Lourdes Memorial School. She also taught in Lewistown, MT, at St. Leo Grade School and in Rock Island, IL, at St. Pius X School. Sister Mary Andrew changed her name back to Rosalia after teaching for several years.
After her years of ministry in teaching, Sr. Rosalia focused in a different direction. She worked in Davenport at the Center for Active Seniors as a program assistant, a program facilitator and finally as a volunteer. She currently resides at Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, IA, where she is active in a ministry of prayer and witness.
Sisters Virginia and Rosalia now live next door to each other at Bishop Drumm. They continue to be role models for the younger sisters that have come after them, and for all who know them. They are both devoted to their faith and spend time in prayer and meditation. They enjoy reading and writing and never miss a chance to make life fun and up until the quarantine of COVID-19, both sisters enjoyed their afternoon card game in the lounge. Congratulations and thank you Sisters Virginia and Rosalia.