DELHI TOWNSHIP, Ohio. Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Roberta Westrick died Dec. 11, 2020, at the age of 82 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility for the Sisters of Charity. A Memorial Mass will be offered in the Motherhouse Chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati at a later date. Burial in the Sisters of Charity cemetery has already taken place.
Sister Roberta was born on Sept. 18, 1938 to Robert and Bernardine (Jarvis) Westrick in Detroit, Michigan. She was the oldest of six, five girls and one boy. She was a Sister of Charity for 62 years.
Sister Roberta grew up in Detroit, attending St. Matthew grade school and graduating from Dominican High School in 1957. She first met the Sisters of Charity while working as a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Impressed by the Sisters who trained her, and by their work, she chose to enter the Congregation on Sept. 8, 1958.
Sister Roberta earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1969. Her master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling was earned in 1979 from St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada.
Sister Roberta’s ministries span nearly 50 years, 13 in the teaching classroom and 36 in pastoral services. She began teaching at St. Savior, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1962 followed by St. Dominic, Cincinnati (1964-’66). Next she traveled to Loyola School in Denver, Colorado. Little did she know at the time that she would serve in the West almost all of her remaining ministry years; it was the vistas and the spirit of the people that gave her life. Sister Roberta taught at Pauline Memorial School in Colorado Springs (1968-’72) before becoming the Colorado Springs diocesan youth minister (1972-’76). She served in a pastoral services ministry at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs for two years before gaining formal course work in pastoral counseling at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada. From 1981 until 1986 Sister Roberta ministered at St. Michael and St. Patrick parishes in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. She then returned West, serving as pastoral minister at St. Patrick Parish in Colorado Springs from 1986-’93.
In 1994, Sister Roberta served at Marian House soup kitchen and attended classes at Colorado College before serving as the campus minister at St. Mary’s High School. The skills learned in her art classes gave her further confidence in undertaking the art form of painting santos or saints/holy images. After serving as pastoral associate at Holy Trinity Parish (1999-2008), Sister Roberta retired from active ministry.
In 2001, she was commissioned by the art committee at St. Mary’s Cathedral to participate in a major art project — an outdoor plaza display of the patron saints of the 46 parishes in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. The Plaza de los Santos took more than a year and a half to complete and was dedicated and blessed in 2003. In her retirement years she coordinated cabin use for the sisters in Cascade and was commissioned to paint 16 santos for the reredos behind the newly formed parish of St. Pius X in Weslaco, Texas. Due to declining health, in 2019 she moved to her native Michigan, enjoying time with extended family members. Very recently she moved to Mother Margaret Hall.
As one who entered with Sister Roberta, Sister Pat Newhouse said, “Even though I lived in Michigan and she spent most of the past 60 years out West, our friendship continued mostly by phone or at congregational gatherings. I especially treasure our trips back to Michigan after those meetings when she would hitch a ride with me to go home and visit her family. Bobbie, you have blessed my life with your friendship.”
Sister Roberta is survived by her sisters: Susan Tappan, Mary Ann Lloyd, Virginia Richards, and Christine Krass and brother, Bob Westrick, as well as nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made in Sister Roberta’s name to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Retirement Fund, 5900 Delhi Rd., Mount St. Joseph, Ohio 45051.