Sister Lorraine Marie Baller, BVM (Charlita), died Aug. 2, 2014, at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in the Marian Hall Chapel followed by a prayer service at 11 a.m. Funeral liturgy will be at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.
She was born Aug. 21, 1922, to John and Cecilia Schneider Baller. She entered the BVM congregation from St. Gregory Parish, Chicago, on Sept. 8, 1941. She professed first vows on March 19, 1944, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1949.
Sister Lorraine Marie was an elementary and secondary school teacher and principal in Los Angeles, Burbank and North Hollywood, Calif.; Chicago and Grayslake, Ill.; and Kansas City, Mo.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother Charles; and a sister, BVM Jeanette Baller, BVM (formerly Eunice, SCC). She is survived by a sister, Sister Charlene Baller, SLW, Chicago; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 72 years.
Sister Lorraine Marie Baller, BVM (Charlita)
Marian Hall, Aug. 7, 2014
Good afternoon and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Lorraine Baller.
Lorraine Marie Baller was born on Aug. 21, 1922, in Chicago, the first child of John A. Baller and Cecelia Schneider. Within a few years, she was joined by sisters Charlene and Jeanette. Lorraine was very close to her father, who emigrated from Germany and was a teacher. Her mother, who was born in Chicago, died shortly after Jeanette was born. John later married Elizabeth Yunker, a widow with one son. She was a wonderful woman who became a second mother to the Baller girls. Lorraine’s step-brother Charles died in 1941. Her sisters attended the boarding school run by the Sisters of Christian Charity and entered their community. Charlene eventually transferred to the Sisters of the Living Word. Jeanette transferred to the BVMs; she died in 1996. Lorraine’s path was different from that of her sisters—she attended Immaculata HS and upon graduation applied for admission to the BVM novitiate.
Lorraine entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1941, and received the name Charlita upon her reception on March 19, 1942. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1944, and lived 72 years as a BVM. Lorraine was an elementary teacher for 32 years. She was missioned in California at St. Bernard in Los Angeles, St. Robert Bellarmine in Burbank and St. Charles in North Hollywood; St. Catherine in Kansas City, Mo; and Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago, where she taught for 17 years. She also served six years as principal at St. Gilbert in Grayslake, Ill., and taught math for nine years at Cathedral High School in Chicago. As a teacher, she related well with her students, who also knew she meant business. OLA and St. Gilbert were two of her favorite missions because of the many lasting friendships she formed there.
In 1991 Lorraine retired from the classroom and began volunteering in parish ministry at Holy Name Cathedral. She was active on the liturgy committee, wrote intercessions and commentaries and served as a Eucharistic minister. She enjoyed sharing her talents and mingling with the parishioners. She became well-known and appreciated among the people and once again formed wonderful friendships. Her 15 years in parish ministry was a highlight in her life.
A few random bits and pieces reveal Lorraine’s individuality. As a child, this city girl immensely enjoyed trips to the family cabin. After returning to street clothes, she was recognized as a “classy lady,” a nice dresser with a good sense of style and lovely hair. Her living and working areas were just as neat and organized as her appearance. She enjoyed the tradition of St. Joseph’s Table and often returned to OLA to participate in the festivities. She followed a number of TV shows and could chat endlessly about her favorites. She had a good sense of humor, a hearty laugh and she loved to crack jokes. Lorraine was fun-loving, outgoing and, simultaneously, somewhat private. She preferred to keep the conversation light and other-focused, often beginning with “What kind of trouble are you in now?” and ending with “Now behave.”
To quote a member of her set, Lorraine was “a good, prayerful woman, always pleasant and smiling.” Her cheery disposition was one of the reasons she was considered a good person with whom to live. Lorraine was accommodating, thoughtful and generous. She loved to drive and graciously transported her BVM sisters to their destinations. She was quick to share the candy she received as gifts. For many years she contributed to a circular Christmas letter that was sent to all in her set—members and formers—and she looked forward to receiving the compilation. She never stopped enjoying company and was always glad to see a friend. Even after names became elusive, her face would still light up when someone she had known approached her.
Lorraine selected today’s Gospel passage from Luke. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me . . . to proclaim liberty to captives . . . a year acceptable to the Lord.” The passage with its allusion to a jubilee year, a time of release for persons held in bondage, seems apt. After months of declining health Lorraine is now free. We rejoice with her as we celebrate her entrance into eternal life.