Sister Ethel Widhalm served in Catholic schools

Sister Ethel Widhalm, a Sister of Saint Francis of Colorado Springs for 72 years, was a teacher or principal in numerous schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha over the course of four decades.

She taught in Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas before serving in religious education and hospital pastoral care in Nebraska and Colorado.

Sister Ethel, also known as Sister Beatine, died Nov. 26 at Mount Saint Francis Nursing Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was 98.

A private vesper and wake service was held Nov. 30 at the Mount Saint Francis Convent followed by a Mass of Resurrection on Dec. 1 at Saint Francis Assisi Church and burial in Mount Saint Francis Cemetery, all in Colorado Springs.

Sister Ethel taught at archdiocesan schools including: St. Bonaventure in Columbus in 1948, the former Sacred Heart in Cornlea in 1949, the former St. Stanislaus in Duncan in 1950, St. Francis in Humphrey from 1951 to 1953, the former St. Mary School in the Humphrey-Tarnov area in 1954, the former St. Boniface in Monterey Township, the former St. Bonaventure Junior High School in Columbus from 1962 to 1963 and the former Immaculate Conception School in Omaha in 1971.

She also served as principal at St. Francis High School in Humphrey from 1964 to 1969 and at St. Bonaventure School in Columbus in 1974.

Sister Ethel was born in the village of Cornlea in Platte County, one of 14 children in her farm family, and was among several family members, including cousins and aunts, to enter religious life.

She received the Franciscan habit in 1938 and professed final vows in 1945.

Survivors include her brother Earl; nieces, nephews; great-nieces and -nephews and the Sisters of Saint Francis.

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