Margaret Wessels was born January 8, 1902 in St. Louis, Missouri. She entered the congregation in 1919 and was given the religious name Eulogia. Sister Eulogia professed her first vows in 1923 and for the next 40 years, she worked primarily as an elementary school teacher in Missouri, Illinois, Texas and Louisiana.
When Sister Eulogia entered the congregation, teachers were not required to have a college degree to teach. However, not long after, states began enacting laws that required teachers to have formal training at either a normal school (teacher training schools) or a four-year college.
The need for teaching sisters was so great that most sisters who entered the congregation before the 1960s would teach during the school year, and then attend college on weekends and over the summer. This meant that it could take years for a sister to get a college degree. It was not unusual for a sister to spend a decade working to earn her bachelor’s degree.
Sister Eulogia would have been educated in this manner, but her case is particularly unusual. The photo shows her holding her diploma from the former Notre Dame College in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1969 at the age of 67 after having worked as a teacher for almost 50 years! Better late than never.
Our archive series is from Michele Levandoski, archivist at the School Sisters of Notre Dame North American Archives. Located at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the archives include more than 2,000 linear feet of historical documents and artifacts that date back to the establishment of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in North America. Learn more at https://ssnd.org/archives/.