Monday, March 7, 2022
Mass of the Resurrection, 10:30 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
As we cannot welcome visitors to the Church of Our Lady of Loretto for funeral services at this time.
You may view the livestreamed Mass on YouTube.
Read the memories shared at Sister Maureen's funeral.
Sister M. Lorraine, CSC
(Frances Lorraine Black)
April 12, 1921 – February 28, 2022
We share news of the death of Sister M. Lorraine (Black), CSC, who died at 10:37 a.m. on Monday, February 28, 2022, in Saint Bridget’s Convent, Saint Mary’s Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Lorraine entered the Congregation from Morris, Illinois, on February 3, 1940. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1942.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Finally, there was sun and a break from an unseasonably harsh winter. The beginning of Lent was only two days away when Sister M. Lorraine (Black) died at home on the morning of February 28, 2022. At 100 years old, Sister Lorraine had been under hospice care since autumn, continuing to live in community with Sister Joy O’Grady, CSC, who welcomed other Holy Cross sisters, family and friends to their door to visit and pray with them.
In September, Sister Lorraine had sent an open letter thanking everyone for their messages of love and prayer. “God will be calling me soon to my eternal home,” she said. Despite cardiac issues, her heart continued “to beat with deep love and gratitude for 100 years of life… . As I face this letting go I am very peaceful and have a deep sense of God’s presence and love surrounding me and all of our community.”
Sister Lorraine said in her 99th year, “My life is an open book. Not much has happened in my life, but the three Fs have made my life: faith, family and friends.” She was of the opinion that many obituaries spoke too much of a sister’s accomplishments, without the proper focus on prayer. She insisted, “I want my community, my family and friends to remember me as a woman of prayer.”
Sister Lorraine came from a devout Catholic family. In the words of one of her nine siblings, Sister M. Antonella (Black), CSC, who died in 2002, “Our little Irish mother gave three daughters to Holy Cross.” Their mother, Catherine “Katie” Ryan, married Frank Black, who was born in the United States of Danish descent. His surname was Sorinson until he was adopted. Frances Lorraine, the youngest of their six girls and four boys, was probably named after her father, though she used only her middle name, Lorraine. Sister M. Anna (Black), CSC, another older sister in the Holy Cross family, died in 2005. Sister Grace Watson, CSC, was their niece, who died in 2019.
Lorraine Black had always wanted to become a sister, a desire that stayed with her through high school, growing up in Morris, Illinois, and taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Immaculate Conception Elementary School and St. Angela Academy, from which she graduated in 1939. Inexplicably, she suddenly changed her mind. Her father had a private business, and her mother took on boarders to earn extra money. Lorraine decided to go to a business college. She remembers that she was happy “but something was missing and by November 1939, I was applying to the Sisters of the Holy Cross!” She was irked with the pastor’s letter of recommendation. She expected more than a tepid character witness. “As far as I know,” he wrote, “she is a young lady of good character and a practicing Catholic.” Lorraine considered the letter not worth the trouble. Miss Black was accepted and soon began her formation at Saint Mary’s in February 1940. Upon reception of the holy habit on August 15, 1936, she was disappointed not to receive the name she had hoped for, Sister Irene! Instead, she was one of the few to receive her own baptismal name with that of Mary.
Sister Mary Lorraine spent 40 years in Catholic elementary education from 1941 to 1981, 26 years as a fair, joyful, reconciling principal in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. Her last Indiana school assignments were at Indiana Harbor Catholic, East Chicago; St. Thomas the Apostle, Elkhart; Holy Cross, South Bend; and St. Joseph’s, South Bend. Sister’s professional preparation included a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, in 1960; a Master of Education degree from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, in 1967; and a State of Indiana Life Credential in elementary administration.
Sister Lorraine served as the Midwest Regional Treasurer from 1981 to 1987, then worked as administrative assistant at the CSC Consultation Center office housed in a portion of Saint Bridget’s Convent.
Sister Lorraine’s last chapter of that open book of her life began with her retirement in 2010. She continued to live the three Fs. “Faith comes from my Irish mother. Family? I am proud of my 30 nieces and nephews. Friends? I have oodles of friends.” Late in Sister Lorraine’s life, a niece suggested that she add FUN. She and Sister Joy extended their hospitality frequently. When protocols eased during the pandemic, they hosted get-togethers outside on their driveway. Last April, the sisters at Saint Mary’s were invited to the Augusta Hall dining room to celebrate Lorraine’s 100 years of life.
Sister Lorraine was proud that she had been able to do the house accounts for so long, but Saint Bridget’s Convent was not an office for bookkeeping. The convent, at the north end of the Saint Mary’s campus, was Sister Lorraine’s chapel and sanctuary in her full-time ministry of prayer. With strong faith in the Providence of God, she had sat daily in the living room and looked out the picture window. Season after season, she contemplated fully the beauty and grandeur of God. Birds nested in tall trees sheltering the house as deer foraged for food. To the end, she lifted up to God the intentions of the Congregation and the needs of the human family, confident in the good news of Luke 12:7: “Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.—Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC