Sister Rosemary served Hispanic community in South Sioux City

Dominican Sister Rosemary Empen, who served in Hispanic ministry at St. Michael Parish in South Sioux City, died March 2 at St. Elizabeth Manor in Footville, Wisconsin. She was 88.

A funeral Mass was held at her order’s motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, March 11, with burial in the motherhouse cemetery.

Sister Rosemary, who was born in Rochelle, Illinois, entered the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in 1955, professing first vows in 1957 and perpetual vows in 1960. Her religious name was Sister Aemilia.

She began her service as an educator, teaching for 16 years at schools in Chicago, Corpus Christi, New York, and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She also was a principal in Santa Cruz for five years.

Sister Rosemary also served as a missionary in Santa Cruz before returning to the United States, where she continued her ministry with Spanish-speaking people, including as Hispanic pastoral minister at St. Michael Parish in South Sioux City from 1980 to 1986.

She also served for five years as pastoral minister with the Spanish-speaking parishioners at a Wood Dale, Illinois, parish, as director of Centro Guadalupano (now Catholic Multicultural Center) in Madison, Wisconsin, for five years, and was co-director of a Catholic parish in Houston, Mississippi, for 10 years.

In retirement, Sister Rosemary was a volunteer Spanish teacher while living at the motherhouse in Sinsinawa from 2006 to 2019.

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