Sister Ethel, Our Newest Nonagenarian

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Sister Ethel, Our Newest Nonagenarian

Sister Ethel Radtke celebrated her 90th birthday with her Community on Sunday, January 17, and and blew out the candles on a colorful, beautifully decorated cupcake-cake.

Sister Pauline (left) helps Sister Ethel
display her 90th birthday cupcake cake.

Sister Pauline helps Sister Ethel display her 90th birthday cupcake cake.
Sister Ethel has lived a varied and dedicated life of ministry. She was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1920. She entered the Monastery as a postulant in 1941, took her first vows the next year, and made her perpetual profession in July of 1945.

Sister Ethel studied biology and chemistry to get a master’s degree in biology, and even began work on a doctorate in plant physiology at Notre Dame. She started out teaching sciences such as anatomy and physiology, biology, mathematics, and chemistry at Villa Scholastica, Cathedral High School, and The College of St. Scholastica.

Her life took a different turn as she began working as chairwoman of the Adult Education Program for two years at Holy Redeemer Center in Two Rivers in 1968. Following that she came back to Minnesota and worked in the Squaw Lake area. Her ministry took the forms of Indian Apostolate Coordinator, Community Resource person, religious education teacher, and elderly caregiver.

But her activities with the American Indian citizens of Squaw Lake were varied, small tasks and big jobs, working on personal, civic, and religious levels. She earned the love and respect of many friends while there. She returned to live at the Monastery in 2006. And now she is the Monastery’s newest nonagenarian.

Have a second piece of cake, Sister Ethel, and Happy Birthday!




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