Sister Mynette Gross, FSPA
Sister Mynette Gross, FSPA, 97, died Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse. She was in the seventy-fifth year of her religious profession.
Though in poor health for some time, Sister Mynette’s condition declined quickly in the three days before her death. By 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, it was evident that death was near. She died peacefully at 6:05 p.m.
Sister Mynette was born to William and Mary (Pietig) Gross on July 15, 1911, in Carroll, Iowa. At her baptism she was given the name Julitta. Two years later the family moved to a farm near Mt. Carmel. She attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School for 10 years. Her youngest sister was born and her mother was ill so Julitta stayed home for three years before she followed her call to religious life. She entered St. Rose Convent on August 20, 1931.
Julitta was received into the novitiate and received the name Sister Mynette on August 10, 1932. She made profession of first vows on August 6, 1934, and final vows August 9, 1940.
Entering the field of education, Sister Mynette taught at the elementary level for ten years before being named FSPA Director of Schools. She earned M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in education from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. Sister Mynette served as Academic Dean at Viterbo College for twenty-four years and as Vice President for Academic Affairs for two years. She was engaged in parish ministry at St. James, La Crosse from 1978-1985. Before retiring to St. Rose Convent in 1990, Sister Mynette served as the director of the Diocesan Office of Justice and Peace. During that time she also served on the board of directors of the La Crosse jail and was instrumental in establishing the ministry program there. Sister Mynette made Villa St. Joseph her home since 1997.
Community members and family remember Sister Mynette as an intelligent and capable leader. Monsignor Bernard McGarty, who worked with her on organizing the La Crosse Jail Ministry program, said of her: “She had an unorthodox style of leadership. Her beguiling strength is that she tells you about her inadequacies and weaknesses and tells you she can’t do the job” and then she does it. “She downplays herself and that brings others forward.” For her exemplary service at Viterbo College Sister Mynette was honored with the John XXIII Award in 1981.
Sister Mynetteis survived by her Franciscan Community; her sister Rita Meyer, Carroll, IA, and nieces and nephews including Mother Suzanne Gross, FSE, Meriden, Connecticut. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers Raymond, Norbert and Paul; and her sisters Louise, Florence and Mae.
Friends may call after 3:15 p.m., Thursday, April 30, at St. Rose Convent. A prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Mary of the Angels Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Mary of the Angels Chapel at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 1. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse.
Memorials may be sent to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 912 Market Street,
La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601-4782.