Sister Mary Hope Uphoff, 81, died on January 2, 2019, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls, Minn.
Rose Mary Uphoff was born on February 10, 1937, to Alois and Louise (Laing) Uphoff in New Munich, Minn. She was six weeks premature and, to everyone’s surprise, there were two babies. Rose Mary weighed only two and a half pounds; her twin sister weighed about four pounds. However, Rose Mary’s twin died shortly after birth but little Rose Mary continued to breathe. That first night she slept in a cotton-filled shoebox on the oven door. The next day the family bundled up and went to the church for the baptism. The family did not expect that one so frail and small would live. Her survival, without the benefit of incubator or oxygen, always made her feel a sense of destiny and purpose. She was the oldest of the five living children and grew up in an extended family. Her father and uncle owned the home farm and lived there together, along with the grandmother and a hired man. The family spoke German until several years after Rose Mary started school when they gradually changed to English.
Rose Mary attended Sacred Heart School in New Munich. She was eager to learn to read and found it fun and easy to learn her ABC’s, reading and writing. Her First Communion during her second grade was a highlight.
Rose Mary attended St. Francis High School in Little Falls. She was a bit homesick at first, but quickly adjusted to boarding school life. She had an aunt who was a Benedictine and Rose Mary, herself, thought seriously about becoming a Poor Clare. However, probably because of the example of the sisters at the high school, she chose to become a Franciscan Sister.
She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota, on July 31, 1955, and was given the name Sister Mary Hope. She was a Franciscan Sister for 63 years.
Sister Hope obtained her RN at St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing, Breckenridge, Minn. She ministered as a staff nurse, head nurse, oncology nurse and night supervisor. She served in Sauk Centre, Alexandria, Moorhead, Little Falls and Hastings, Minn., and in Milwaukee, Wis. After many years of hospital nursing, Sister Hope became the director of Nursing at St. Francis Convent Infirmary where she ministered with love to her sisters for eight years. After a year of sabbatical rest, she continued ministry to the elderly at Augustana Nursing Home in Hastings. Sister Hope served on the governing boards of St. Francis Hospital, Breckenridge, Minn.; Trinity Hospital, Baudette, Minn.; and Trinity Hospital, Cudahy, Wis.
Sister Hope valued the opportunity to attend daily Mass and to have time for personal prayer and quiet. She treasured her yearly retreat as a wonderful time for personal and spiritual growth. When she celebrated her golden anniversary as a Franciscan Sister, she said that her years were never static, but were years that moved her to new days of aliveness, appreciation and hopefulness. She loved to care for flowers and watch them unfold, which reminded her of life and how each person unfolds and grows toward perfection.
Her parents, her twin sister, Mary, and her brother-in-law, Floyd Siegle, preceded Sister Hope in death. Survivors include siblings: Alice Siegle, Long Prairie; Louise (Jerry) Kaiser, Zumbrota; Judy (Dave) Lesar, St. Cloud and Charles (Deb), Melrose; nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.
A wake will be held for Sister Hope on January 6, 2019. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on January 7, 2019, at St. Francis Convent.