Two sisters remembered for their dedication to archdiocese Catholic schools

Two religious sisters from the same family – whose deaths were just days apart – left a lasting legacy in the Archdiocese of Omaha, especially in education.

Sister Michelle Faltus of the Sisters For Christian Community (SFCC) –  a former superintendent of schools for the archdiocese from 2000 to 2006 – died Feb. 28 in Omaha. She was 88.

Sister Clarice Faltus of the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – a former principal at V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha – died March 2. She was 93.

A funeral Mass for Sister Michelle was March 4 at St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, where she had been an active member. Inurnment was at St. John’s Cemetery in Bellevue.

Sister Michelle Faltus COURTESY PHOTO

A funeral Mass for Sister Clarice will be March 14 at the Mother of Perpetual Help Residence in St. Louis.

Both women grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, two of four daughters born to Clara (Black) and Bert Faltus. From that family sprouted three religious vocations.

“My mother and dad were very generous, compassionate, inclusive people, and they taught us to be the same way,” said Sister Jean Marie Faltus, who joined her sister, Sister Michelle, in the Sisters For Christian Community.

“We were blessed to have our parents because they really grounded us,” Sister Jean Marie said, “they really did, and always taught us so much about generosity and being available and living up to what you say you’re going to do.”

All three of the sisters served in Catholic schools in the archdiocese. More than 50 years ago, Sister Jean Marie was assigned to Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue.

Sister Clarice Faltus COURTESY PHOTO

Her sisters joined her in the archdiocese in 2000 when Sister Michelle became superintendent of schools, then Sister Clarice became principal at Skutt Catholic. Both brought a wealth of administrative experience in Catholic schools to their jobs.

Upon becoming superintendent, Sister Michelle stressed the importance of forming students as Catholics.

“We want our students to pursue their goals and their careers,” she said, “but children coming from the Catholic schools, we want them to be contributing members of their Church.”

“As a principal,” Sister Clarice “understood the importance of both having firm, consistent, clear guidelines and of creating an atmosphere of learning that embraced and engaged the whole person,” the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help wrote on Facebook. “She mentored new teachers and worked toward developing a faith community of respect, fellowship, and service.”

After retiring from education, Sister Clarice served as pastoral minister at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Omaha until her retirement in 2020 at the age of 90.

“Her life of prayer compelled her to love more, to serve better, and to sacrifice all,” the Franciscan Sisters wrote. “Her compassionate heart touched the lives of numerous students, teachers, co-workers, family members, friends, and Franciscan Sisters the Lord placed in her life.”

Both Sister Clarice and Sister Michelle promoted fair trade products at their parishes.

“I was always amazed at their dedication to what they believed in as far as Catholic education and service to people,” Sister Jean Marie said.

Sister Clarice and Sister Michelle were preceded in death by their parents; their sister Rosemary; brother-in-law Charlie; and nephew John.

Survivors include their religious communities; Sister Jean Marie; nephew Greg Leveling (Sue); great-nieces; a great-nephew; and a great-great-nephew.


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