Sr. Evelyn Marie Peterman, a Franciscan Sister of Mary for more than 74 years and member of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph parish and choir, died Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton, Missouri. She was 88.
Through her years as a sister, she was able to fulfill two special dreams—to become a nurse and to serve the poor in the missions. Through her later ministry at Algoa and Jefferson City Correctional Centers she also brought comfort and hope to prisoners.
Evelyn Marie Peterman was born December 7, 1928, in St. Louis, one of seven children born to Leo F. and Cecilia A. (Healy) Peterman. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary July 29, 1943; she received the name Sr. Cecilia Marie, and she professed final vows February 11, 1950.
She earned a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy (1953) and a Master’s in Manufacturing Pharmacy (1956), both from St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She completed her associate’s in Nursing through St. Mary’s College in O’Fallon, Missouri (1971) and earned her BSN through Saint Louis University (1979); she became a medical nurse practitioner in 1981, also through Saint Louis University. She earned a certificate in Biblical Spirituality through Catholic Theological Union, Chicago (1991) and completed her residency for CPE certification through Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center (1995–1996). She was certified in Spiritual Direction in 2005.
She was a pharmacy aide at St. Mary’s Health Center (1946–1950). As a pharmacist, she taught Pharmacology and Pharmacy at St. Mary’s Infirmary and St. Mary’s Health Center (1953–1956). In 1956 she opened the pharmacy at the new Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, serving as chief pharmacist there until 1961.
In 1961 she set up the pharmacy at St. Eugene Hospital, Dillon, South Carolina. She was chief pharmacist at St. Mary’s Hospital, Kansas City, and taught pharmacology at the school of nursing there (1962–1969). She was a nurse and supervisor at St. Eugene’s Hospital, Dillon, South Carolina (1971–1973); ICU nurse and nursing supervisor at St. Mary’s Hospital, Jefferson City, Missouri (1973–1978); and ICU nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Hannibal, Missouri (1981–1984). From 1978 to 1984 she directed the SSM Associates.
In 1984, while working in pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon, she learned Swahili so she could serve as a nurse at the FSM mission in Wema, Kenya (1984–1989). A companion, Sr. Agnes Reinkemeyer, was murdered during a robbery at the mission. Traumatized by the tragedy, Sr. Evelyn returned to St. Louis, and the FSM closed the mission in Wema.
She worked as a nurse at Frances Warde Health Service, Rosman, North Carolina. She was a home health care and hospice nurse for Incarnate Word Hospital, St. Louis (1992–1994) and for the Barnes-Jewish Visiting Nurse Association (1994–1995). She was chaplain for St. Mary’s Hospital and Villa Marie Senior Center in Jefferson City, Missouri (1996–2007), then volunteered there until moving to The Sarah Community in July 2013. She also ministered to prisoners at Algoa and Jefferson City Correctional Centers and helped with retreats for Teens Encounter Christ, Residents Encounter Christ, and Cursillo.
Sr. Evelyn loved spending time with friends, enjoying nature, writing letters and cards to family and friends, crocheting, and singing in choral groups. She said, “Throughout my ministries I have enjoyed whatever I was doing because the work involved being of assistance to others who were in need and I was able to help them. My greatest joy and satisfaction during my years of ministry was when I was in Wema, Kenya, living with the poor and caring for their sick.”
Sr. Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Thomas and Leo Eugene Peterman, and two sisters, Sr. Paul Marie Peterman, CP, and Mrs. Helen T. Phippen. She is survived by a brother, Joseph Peterman, of Redwood Valley, California, and a sister, Mrs. Frances Wood of Spring Hill, Kansas, as well as many other relatives and friends.
Sr. Evelyn Marie donated her body to Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, December 4, 2017 in the chapel at The Sarah Community, 12284 DePaul Drive, Bridgeton, Missouri, on the campus of SSM DePaul Health Center.