November 18, 2022
Gathering to Receive the Body with
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
A memorial Mass for Sister will be scheduled at a later date.
Visitors are welcome; please adhere to mask and social distance guidelines while in the church.
Sister Linda Bellemore, CSC
(Sister M. Ellen Louise)
October 6, 1938–November 17, 2022
We share news of the death of Sister Linda Bellemore, CSC, who died at 5:12 p.m. on November 17, 2022, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Linda entered the Congregation from Elkhart, Indiana, on August 1, 1956. Her initial profession of vows took place on February 2, 1959.
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.
Sister Linda Bellemore was 84 years old when she died in Saint Mary’s Convent in Notre Dame, less than 15 miles from where she spent much of her youth on a farm in Elkhart. The first of seven children, she had five brothers and one sister who was 16 years younger than she was. Linda Louise Bellemore, however, was born on October 6, 1938, in Alexandria, Indiana, to Hervey and Mary Louise (Miller) Bellemore. When Linda was 5 years old, the family moved to the farm in Elkhart. Her earliest memories consisted of wheelbarrow rides from their father with her younger brother, Dennis, and her mother making dresses for her out of chicken-feed sacks. Her home life was characterized by kind and generous parents, who encouraged them to grow to be warm and free-spirited.
After being taught by Sisters of the Holy Cross at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Elkhart, Linda insisted on attending a Catholic high school. Despite having to leave early in the morning to carpool with a friend’s father, and then catch two buses to get to school on time, she loved going to St. Joseph High School, South Bend, Indiana. She was a steady and conscientious student and was consistently on the honor roll. Ever since her teacher, Sister M. Regina Delores (Mattingly), CSC, first inspired her in elementary school, Linda had wanted to become a Holy Cross sister. Following her graduation in 1956, she decided to follow the vocation she felt inside of her. Linda entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, on August 1, 1956. Upon reception of the holy habit, she became Sister Mary Ellen Louise.
As Sister Ellen Louise, she taught second through eighth grades at parochial schools in Illinois and Indiana for five years. While teaching at Queen of All Saints School in Michigan City, Indiana, she would play the old piano in her classroom on Fridays, and her students would sing along with her to celebrate the end of the week. Although she enjoyed teaching, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. In 1964, she became a nursing student at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, and returned to using her baptismal name.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Loyola University in 1967, Sister Linda began her nursing ministry. For 20 years, she was a nurse in various departments, including pediatrics, coronary care and intensive care. With her assignment to Saint Alphonsus Hospital, Boise, Idaho, in 1973, her ministry transitioned to pastoral care. After graduating with a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, in 1976, she served as the director of pastoral care at Saint Alphonsus Hospital for seven years. These years taught her much about leadership and the complexities of administration in health care facilities.
Sister Linda was a member of the Corporate Renewal Team for the Congregation, which was formed to help sisters implement recent changes during a time of renewal following the Second Vatican Council. A major focus of the Corporate Renewal Team’s work was to assist sisters to get in touch with the charism of Basil Moreau and how it was alive in the members. As a member of the team from 1971 to 1973, she led four-day workshops about group dynamics, developing conflict resolution skills, and sharing thoughts and feelings effectively. She was thankful to have the opportunity to travel around the United States and get to know sisters better.
One notable ministry of Sister Linda’s was her outreach to persons diagnosed with HIV and AIDS through what later became the Continuity of Care Program. From 1987 to 1993, she facilitated various services to patients with HIV and AIDS at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended to both physical and emotional needs, such as housing and food assistance, funeral planning and bereavement, crisis intervention and transportation. Wanting each person to feel a sense of security and comfort, she encouraged them to express their feelings and fears about their diagnosis. Another component of Sister Linda’s ministry was education regarding misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Despite the uncertainty surrounding HIV and AIDS, Sister Linda confronted those fears by offering a variety of educational programs for the public. A key feature involved having those diagnosed tell their own stories. For Sister Linda, the six years she spent in Salt Lake City was the greatest ministry of her life. She once said that every person “left deep footprints on my heart,” and it was a blessing and privilege to “walk that road with them.”
Between 1994 and 2007, Sister Linda served in various roles in the South Bend area, which included serving as the Congregation’s candidate director in the United States, coordinator of ministry to the homebound at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, and pastoral companion to sisters residing at the motherhouse, Saint Mary’s. She served as coordinator for Saint Catherine by the Sea Convent in Ventura, California, for three years before moving to Saint Mary’s due to chronic health issues in 2010. At Saint Mary’s and Rosary convents, she provided pastoral support to the sisters and staff. Sister Linda once said, “I see all of life as a journey and look to the events of each day for the living Word.”
In the early evening of November 17, 2022, the week before Thanksgiving Day, Sister Linda’s journey of life ended after suffering a rough summer and autumn. Family members visited her, and the sisters and staff kept vigil with her. Sister Linda had planned a green burial long before. As she requested, her body was wrapped in a beautiful quilt made with love by her sister Mary Lee, who preceded Linda in death in July of this year. According to community custom, her signed vow formula was placed with Sister, as a symbol of 63 years as a consecrated woman religious. Sister Linda Bellemore was laid to rest in a simple wooden coffin. Snow covered the earth at the committal service in Our Lady of Peace Cemetery on November 18, 2022. A memorial Mass will be celebrated on a date to be decided, at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
—Written by Madisen Toth, archivist
Sisters of the Holy Cross Archives and Records