Remembering Our Alumnae

Sr. Elaine Wheeler ‘39

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Daughter of Charity Sister Elaine Wheeler, died at St. Louise House, Menands , N.Y. on Friday, January 18, 2013 surrounded by her Sisters in Community, nursing staff and friends. Sister Elaine Wheeler, a twin, was born in New York City in 1916. Her parents, Nina Marie Barr and Ferdinand C. Wheeler enjoyed their seven daughters, four of whom became Daughters of Charity (including her identical twin), one a Religious of the Sacred Heart, and two married sisters.

Sister Elaine entered the Daughters of Charity in 1935 and enjoyed teaching for 42 years, 24 of those in Troy and Albany, New York. Her innovative methods for teaching biology were well known to the staff and students of Cardinal McCloskey High School, Albany where she taught from the opening of the school in 1957 to 1978  except for a three year sojourn at St. Mark's High School, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Sister loved teaching as well as visiting the homes of her students. In 1979 she was invited to work in the archives for six months. The six months became more than 26 years of organizing the history of the Northeast Province of the Daughters of Charity. Sister Elaine learned the work of an archivist with the same enthusiasm she used in teaching. She assisted four other provinces in the United States, as well as those in England, Ireland, and Australia to set up their archives. Invited to communities to establish their archives, she taught many Sisters from them how to be archivists. She came to St. Louise House December 30, 2005 and continued her archival work. She was noted for her energy, both in walking and in getting around in a wheelchair. Her later years found her with a book in her hands. An avid reader, she was making up for the days she had no time to read. When the Daughters wore full habits, Sister Elaine and her sister, Sister Madeleine loved to switch places and cause confusion. Sister Elaine is predeceased by her parents and six sisters, Sister Mary Cecilia, a Religious of the Sacred Heart, Nina Wheeler Blake, Hilda Barr Dixon, Sister Jean Marie, Sister Madeleine, and Sister Zoe, all of whom were Daughters of Charity.

An article about the Wheeler Sisters appeared in January 2013 in the the Albany Times-Union: Sisters Were Sisters, Inseparable to the End.

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