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Sister Mary L. (Charlotte) Stokes, BVM

Sister Mary L. (Charlotte) Stokes, BVM died Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa.

Virtual Visitation and Funeral Rite of Committal were Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Sharing of Memories was July 21. Burial is in the Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Sister Mary was born in Chicago on Dec. 26, 1921, to Daniel and Margaret Moloney Stokes. She entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary congregation Sept. 8, 1944, from St. Brendan Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1947, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1952.

Sister Mary ministered as a foreign language instructor at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa; a secondary teacher at St. Joseph Academy in Des Moines, Iowa; Our Lady of Peace in Saint Paul, Minn.; St. Mary Cathedral in Lincoln, Neb.; Mount St. Gertrude Academy in Boulder, Colo.; and St. Paul in San Francisco. She also served as an admissions interviewer at St. Joseph Hospital, a word processor at St. Paul Companies, and data entry operator for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, all in Saint Paul.

She is preceded in death by her parents; a brother Daniel Stokes; and sisters Catherine Hourigan and Geraldine Stokes. She is survived by a niece, a nephew, and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with whom she shared life for 75 years.

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

Stokes Mary L.eulogy

Sharing of Memories for Mary L. Stokes BVM

 Watch Sharing of Memories for Mary L. Stokes BVM 

Watch Rite of Committal for Mary L. Stokes BVM

This Post Has One Comment
  1. No one had a greater impact on my life than Sister Mary Charlotte. I was a very confused 16 year old who lost her mother at ten, then months later, her alcoholic father married, of course, an alcoholic! My freshman year of public high school was a disaster academically, so when my parents decided I was a burden to their lifestyle, I was unable to make the grade to be accepted at any local California boarding schools. Through the grace of God, I found myself at Mt. St. Gertrude Academy in Boulder, Colorado.

    I was not Catholic, nor did I have any religious background. I remember being totally confused when my sohomore prefect asked the class who had brought their missal from home. (I thought, “ICBM Missile.” No, I didn’t have one of those…). But despite all my ignorance, and fear of the unknown, I flourished in an environment of love and compassion.

    Sister Mary Charlotte was my prefect my junior year. That was a year filled with laughter, learning, and love! She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I tried very hard never to disappoint her, which, of course, was inevitable. Her standards were high. But even greater was her sense of humor. I remember her teasing me one night that she knew what a classmate was giving me for Christmas. She was holding it hidden under her habit. My curiosity and her teasing caused such a ruckus, another sister angrily sent us all to bed immediately. The Christmas gift from my classmate was three of the characters from my favorite cartoon, “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz. What Sister Mary Charlotte had hidden, and was exposed by our relentless exuberance, was an institutional-size bottle of Phillips Milk of Magnesia! Sister was equally skilled at hiding butter, lifted from the kitchen, for the rare nights that we had popcorn. The next day I told her what a severe lecture I had received about my behavior. Sister Mary Charlotte confessed she had been admonished for “contributing to the delinquency of minors.” How far from the truth!

    Until MSG and the Sisters of Charity, my life was in a downward spiral. Sister Mary Charlotte made such a profound influence on me. I treasure the memories of those high school years, especially her words of wisdom, encouragement, laughter, love, and those beautiful blue eyes! I loved her so, and never a day went by that she wasn’t in my thoughts and prayers. I often thought that my own mother, in heaven, sent Sister Mary Charlotte to me. Now my mother can thank her.

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