Sister Mary Lou Sterling, CSJ
Sister Mary Lou Sterling was born the last of eight children, and her family has always played an important part in her life. She entered the Congregation of St. Joseph in September of 1949, receiving the habit and the religious name of Sr. Ursula the following August. After teaching in schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 18 years, she blazed a new frontier teaching in the Chicago Public School system for 27 years. After her retirement from education, she went to work for a new ministry, St. Joseph Press, adding much to its early success through her organizational skills, machine mastery and her determination to get the job done.
In her retirement years, Sr. Mary Lou delighted in working in the garden especially when she could harvest the rhubarb, berries and vegetables and add them to the sisters’ menu. She has also put her driving skills to good use to visit her large loving family, to help the sisters get to doctor’s appointments and to take them shopping.
Currently, she works to help SMILE raise funds for children who are born with a cleft lip get the surgery they so urgently need. Sister Mary Lou was drawn to this organization as she reflected on the good health of her many nieces and nephews and all the many children she has taught. She feels this is a special way of thanking God for their good health and helping to extend the gift of health to others less fortunate.