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Ernestina Molinari, BVM

Sister Ernestina Molinari, BVM, 89, died Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

Funeral services were Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Burial is in the Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Sister Ernestina was an elementary teacher in Chicago; Kauai, Hawaii; Stockton, Calif.; Los Angeles; and San Francisco, where she also served as a secondary teacher and elementary principal. She worked as an adult education instructor in San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif. She was an administrator of the congregational retirement center in Los Gatos, Calif., and manager of elderly housing in Santa Rosa, Calif.

She was born on Oct. 30, 1930, in San Francisco to Ernest and Ernestine Bardini Molinari. She entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary congregation Sept. 8, 1948, from St. Philip Parish, San Francisco. She professed first vows on March 19, 1951, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1956.

She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by a brother Roy (Erlinda Ellacer) Molinari, San Mateo, Calif.; cousins; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 71 years.

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

Ernestina Molinari eulogy

Molinari Ernestina sharing of memories

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Ernestina was my 8th grade teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago in 1965. She was a rock star! A number of the boys performed a comedic play under her “direction” called “Little Red Riding Hood as Shakespeare would do It.” That meant it was an all male cast. We were all “hams” and couldn’t keep a straight face for any of the lines, sort of like Harvey Korman and Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett show! Sr. Ernie, as we called her, needed a good stiff drink at the convent after putting up with us at rehearsal!
    I found her after nearly 40 years when she first retired. We talked on the phone frequently and corresponded all of the years since. I think we became great friends that carried until she passed. I am a lawyer by profession. Whenever I called and left a message I would say I was her “mafia lawyer” from Chicago.
    I miss her already, but, I know, for sure, she is enjoying her Mother’s Italian cooking in heaven!!! Great run, Sister Ernie! Your life and teaching have been the backbone of so many you taught in your career. Your laugh was real and unforgettable! At least, I’ll never forget it!!!

  2. Sr. Ernestina was a wonderful teacher. One of my favorites. She was my 8th grade teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes ( Chicago ).
    Fond memories. May she RIP

  3. Sister Mary Ernestina was an unusually person! When I entered the convent in 1948, Elvira Molinari was in my class or “set” as we called it. I recalled the show we postulants put on in which Elvira Molinari was a big hit. She sang this song to the tune of Macnamera’s band.? She wore her “blues” or work clothes on the stage. “0 my name is Elvira Molinari and I clean the second floor dorm.
    I never open the windows
    So my sisters will keep warm.
    I clean up all the Bobby pins that fall upon the floor.
    My Sisters they are careless
    They don’t need them anymore!

    She was always upbeat and positive. She was fun to be with, and had a big heart. She had a large dose of Common Sense,too. I am sure Ernestina helped hundreds of children and adults in her life. When Sister Ernestina came trudging up to the Pearly Gates, Jesus, Mary and Joseph along with Sister Mary Leo, our Postulant Mistress, we’re all there, clapping and laughing for the life of such a spectacular American Sister of Charity!!

  4. I have known Sister Ernestina for more than twenty years. I met Sister through her brother Roy and would see her when she visited Roy and Carol in California especially around Christmas. Sister was a very special person who always had a genuine interest in what I was doing. When I would visit with Sister she always gave her undivided attention and would always follow up depending on the discussion.

    My Mom and Sister Ernestina went to St. Paul’s High School in San Francisco and although they were not in the same class year, three years apart, I remember my Mom and her reminiscing about the BVM nuns who taught them in school.

    Sister would always remember to send a card, with a personal note and not only for the holidays but sometimes just to send her love, encouragement, a kind word, and always a blessing.

    I was fortunate to speak with Sister this last December when Roy and Leedy were visiting her at Mount Carmel. As always Sister was bright, alert, cheerful and giving as she told me that she would be seeing my Mother and Father soon and would say hello for me.

    I am grateful for having known Sister Ernestina.

  5. Sister Ernestina was our 5th grade teacher at St. Bernard’s School in Los Angeles in 1951, possibly her first full year as a teacher. She wasn’t much older than her students were. Of all the nuns that taught religion courses there, hers was the only one of which I remembered the year long content: the Mass. It was very fitting that we could watch her funeral Mass today. I am most grateful for that.

    My wife Ellen and I were privileged to visit her at Mount Carmel last year.We spent several hours with her. She remembered that we had sets of twins in our year.

    Sr. Ernestina was the last surviving nun of the ones that we had at the school. A scholarship fund has been set up through the St. Bernard’s School Foundation in her name.

  6. Sister Ernestina was my teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in the 8th grade. She was a Wonderful Person,and I have to thank her for so much. I had to leave the School to live in Austria, so Sister sent me all my my graduation Pictures. I was in contact with her for a very Long time. She was in Austria in the late 90s so I got to see her, and she was also in my town for one day. Thank you for all that you did for me.

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