Sister Mary Alodia Stozek

Sr. Mary Alodia was a beloved member of Felician Sisters Community for 82 years.
December 15, 1922 – November 26, 2023
SM Alodia Stozek headhsot

Often, we can tell much about a person from the choices they make in the realm of music. That struck me to be especially true of our Sister Mary Alodia Stozek. Sister Alodia would certainly choose classical music, as her CD collection would reflect, and then instrumental religious music. Her choices would also be music that was strong, triumphant and exultant— music that would lift the soul. Her music choices fit her lifestyle. Anyone that knew SM Alodia, knew that she was a profoundly wise woman, deeply spiritual, creative, prophetic in her own right, and staunch in her opinions.

Our Sr. Mary Alodia was born on December 15, 1922. She was baptized Mary Barbara Stozek two weeks later at St. John of God Church, where she would also be confirmed in 1936. Sister attended her first four grades of school there until transferring to St. Joseph School from which she graduated. You may have noticed the Felician Sisters staffed both of these schools. 

When Sr. Alodia was asked why she was drawn to the Franciscan/Felician way of life, Sr. Alodia responded: “It was the Eucharistic aspect of the Felician charism and of the Sisters educational ministry that drew her. The Sisters devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was visible in the way they lovingly imbued their students with a similar love for the sacrament.” Already in the third grade she said, “I knew I wanted to be a sister-teacher.” She sensed the “power for good” that the Sisters had, especially through SM Odilia Wachowski, a family friend. All of this secured her vocation with the Felician Sisters. 

Sister M. Alodia subsequently entered the aspirancy in 1937, becoming a postulant in 1941. She made her first profession in 1943, with her final profession in 1949. 

Sr. Alodia had attended Good Counsel High School followed then by her pursuits in higher education. These endeavors took her to Loyola University for her Bachelor of Science in Education degree, followed by a Master of Arts Degree four years later at Marquette in Milwaukee, where she soon became Director of the Marquette Reading Clinic in the early 1960’s. 

Nor did her educational pursuits end there. In 1966 Sr. Alodia went on to receive (No, it should really read “achieve”) her PhD degree as a Doctor in Educational Psychology at the University of Chicago, no small educational feat, at any time, in that prestigious school. 

Our Sisters living in the “Motherhouse” some years ago were asked to respond to a question in regard to where they had ministered in the past. Sr. Alodia answered that outside of the six years she spent as a General Councilor in Rome, she was engaged in the ministry of education. Her early years then, were spent teaching in elementary schools. In midlife (her term for it), she specialized in reading problems and created the Felician College Reading Clinic utilizing the skills she had earned and learned with that educational psychology doctorate. She was credited with diagnosing many other learning disabilities which had previously been diagnosed as student behavioral problems by their teachers.

When asked about a favorite memory from her ministry, Sister responded with how she was able to develop a visual reading aid for learning disabled children who had difficulties in visual processing. This was an invaluable help for them. This made her very happy, She was also happy to add that the royalties from these visual analogy sets were quite substantial, and so that too, made it worthwhile. 

At this point you may be wanting to ask did she ever relax and take time for herself. Sr. Alodia would tell you: “Reading was what I did as a favorite diversion….all types of materials ranging from spiritual and professional journals to new magazines, or an occasional historical or psychological novel would hold my interest.” 

Her sister friends can attest to the fact that she did enjoy Scrabble or Cribbage. Anyone who knows her, also knows of Sr. Alodia’s lifelong friend, SM Virginette Reczek, who even beat her at these games. The friendship between Sr. Alodia and Sr. Virginette, it has been noted, was something to behold. One of our sisters, an administrator, commented that she loved to watch the two of them interact when they were working in Centralia in the Behavioral Health Center. Few of their words to each other were measured, yet alone withheld. The respect and love they had for each other was the glue that held them together in spite of the bantering. They made a great team! One more challenge by force of necessity, (thanks to our small Southern Illinois convents), Sister Alodia’s repertoire of interests had to widen to even embrace the preparation of convent meals! She had to cook! 

We could not possibly list all the honors, grants, certificates, faculty memberships, monographs, institutes, and workshops, that Sister Alodia had achieved or received. The list of her involvement with Community Service work also goes on and on as well, ranging from Committees for the Right to Read, to Alcohol Safety for the Cook County Circuit Court, and then on to Vitalizing Arithmetic! And we have just briefly mentioned the six years in Congregational leadership, when Sister served as a General Councilor in Rome from 1982 -1988. 

Interwoven within all of this is the person…the woman…the faithful religious. One sensed the depth of her prayer life in one-on-one faith sharing, as well as in her profound insights with her liturgy committee members, always well-supported by Sr. Virginette, as they prepared for a holyday or a new liturgical season. She took this preparation so very seriously. 

When asked one time, more than 15 years ago or more, as Sisters were reflecting on how they would like to be remembered, Sr. Alodia summed it up this way: “I would like to be remembered for my fidelity to the Congregation. Being faithful before Vatican II was easy, she felt, but from 1968 through 1982 or so, after aggiornamento, the changes flowing from Vatican II were challenging. She became involved with projects that she felt fostered ”loyal dissent” as well as with those aimed at improving community life. Sister served as chair of the Vow Commission as they prepared the new edition of our Constitution. She also assumed leadership of the Communications Committee which published ELAN, a publication that presented both sides of current, often changing, religious issues. 

This obviously gifted and wise Sister also served as chairperson of the Effective Leadership Committee which prepared province-wide regional study days on the vows. In stepping back from this kind of involvement, she once commented: “ I discovered that whenever I set myself aside for the common good, I found myself abundantly enriched.” And we, your Community members, relatives and friends, dear SM Alodia, were abundantly enriched by the time we set aside to spend with you.

And now you and SM Virginette are now eternally reunited within the heavenly realm.

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Serving where needed since 1874

Founded in Poland in 1855, the Felician Sisters are a congregation of women religious inspired by the spiritual ideals of their foundress, Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, and Saints Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi and Felix of Cantalice. Arriving in North America in 1874 following Blessed Mary Angela’s directive “to serve where needed,” they helped to weave the social service system. Today, the Felician Sisters founded, sponsor or support through the presence of our sisters, more than 40 ministries – all continuing to evolve to meet the needs of the people they serve.

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