Sister Michele Welch

Sister Michele Welch, CSA, baptized Dorothy Jean, died peacefully June 8, 2024, at Nazareth Center, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Dorothy was born June 19, 1931, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, the eldest of seven children of Francis C. and Dorothy Kilps Welch. Her fondest childhood memories were the countless hours spent with her parents and siblings caring for and riding the horses that her family owned. These family experiences instilled in her a life-long love for nature and all things horse related. After her graduation from St. Joseph’s Grade School in Fond du Lac, Dorothy’s family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she attended Pius XI High School. Inspired by the Sisters of St. Agnes and the School Sisters of St. Francis, her teachers in grade school and high school, Dorothy chose to enter St. Agnes Convent following high school graduation. She made her first profession of vows in the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes as Sister Michele on August 15, 1952, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Sister Michele earned her BS in Education from Marian College, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and her MA in Teaching Mathematics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Sister was a gifted and beloved teacher throughout her years in active ministry. Her initial teaching assignments were with elementary students in Muncie, Indiana; Elmhurst, Illinois; Kewaskum, Wisconsin; Bronx, New York; and St. Patrick’s School in Fond du Lac where she also served as principal. She discovered her greatest joy as a teacher when she was assigned to be head of the math department and math teacher at Beloit Catholic High School, Beloit, Wisconsin; Immaculate Conception High School, Elmhurst, Illinois; and St. Mary’s Springs Academy, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She taught in the math department at St. Mary’s Springs for twenty-seven years (1985-2013). She served there as a tutor until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Sister Michele attended classes in computer programming while earning her MA at Purdue University. These classes fascinated her and gave her the confidence to include computer programming into her advanced math classes beginning at Beloit Catholic High School and throughout the rest of her teaching career.

Sister Michele was cherished by her students as a teacher and for the interest she took in their extracurricular activities. She attended their football and basketball games and cheered them on at track meets. She assisted with organizing and creating the sets for school musicals. Students loved being in her class, soaking in her expertise, creativity, and ability to make learning enjoyable. She and her students shared many treasured memories of pranks they played on each other while excelling in their math studies and building lifelong friendships.

In February 2002, Sister Michele was among the first sisters to reside at the newly built CSA motherhouse located at 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. From there she would walk to St. Mary’s Springs to teach her classes or to tutor. During her free time, she would often be seen sitting on the bench beside the Peace Pond near the front driveway of the motherhouse grounds communing with God and with nature. Other times, she was found tending to the convent library or working on jigsaw puzzles of all sizes and shapes, one of her favorite pastimes. Sister joined the community of sisters at Nazareth Court and Center in Fond du Lac in November 2023 where she received loving care for her declining health until the time of her death.

Preceding Sister Michele in death were her parents, her sister Nancy Welch, and her brother James Welch.

Sister is survived by her sisters Kathleen Delagnes and Suzanne Welch; her brothers David (Barbara) and Michael Welch; and the Sisters of St. Agnes with whom she lived, prayed, and ministered.

Cremation has taken place.

Visitation will be held on Friday, June 21, 2024, from 9—11 a.m. and 12—1:30 p.m. at Nazareth Court and Center, 375 Gillett Street, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

A Prayer Service in honor of Sister Michele will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 21, in Nazareth Center Chapel, 375 Gillett Street, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be offered at 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 21, 2024, at St. Francis Home Chapel, 33 Everett Street, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, with Father Thomas Zelinski, OFM, Cap., presiding. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Springs Cemetery, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Memorials may be directed to the CSA Mission Advancement Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937.

The Sisters of St. Agnes and the Welch family are grateful to the nurses and staff of Nazareth Court and Center and Hospice Hope for their devoted care of Sister Michele.