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Sr. Mary Frances Shafer, BVM

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Dubuque, IA 52001
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Sister Mary Frances Shafer, BVM (Francis Edward), 90, passed away on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, at the Caritas Center – Mount Carmel, in Dubuque, Iowa. To honor Sister's life, the Funeral liturgy will be held at 1:30 p.m., on Monday, January 9, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. To celebrate Sister's life, family and friends may visit from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., on Monday, January 9, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel, followed by a prayer service at 11:00 a.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Sister Mary Frances served as president of the BVM congregation from 1980–84 and as vice president from 1976–80. She was director of admissions and Scholasticate director for the congregation and served as liturgist at Mount Carmel.

"Mary Frances Shafer's leadership was marked by a commitment to the renewal of religious life, a dedication to the education of lay ministers, and a quest for justice and peace," says Helen Maher Garvey, BVM (Robert Joseph). "She pursued this course with gentleness, courage and kindness."

She taught theology at Clarke University and eighth grade at Holy Family ES in Mason City. She also taught elementary school and was principal in Pontiac and Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Wichita, Kan. She served as administrative assistant to superintendent of schools, Kansas City; director of lay ministry for the Diocese of Great Falls, Mont.; and as personnel director for the Diocese of Joliet, Ill.

She was born in Kansas City, Mo., on July 15, 1926, daughter of Frank Edward and Mary M. Aigner Shafer. She entered the BVM congregation on Sept. 8, 1943. She made her first profession of vows on March 19, 1946, and her final profession on Aug. 15, 1951.

She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and five sisters.

She is survived by nieces and nephews; and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 73 years.

Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003 or online at

Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, 52001 is in charge of arrangements.