In Memorial

Sister Phyllis Echterling, OSB

Date passed: February 9, 2024

"Speak, Lord, I love to listen to your voice. See Lord, here I am. My heart is silent, Lord. My soul is still, waiting upon your voice. Tell me your will."

Get to know Sister Phyllis Echterling, OSB

Birthday: May 31

Sister Mary Phyllis Echterling died peacefully at Benet Hill Monastery on February 9, 2024. She was preceded in death by her mother Ruby Marie and her father Julius Echterling, brother Edward and sisters Mary Lewis and Betty Lewis. Sister Phyllis is survived by her sister Helen Welch.

Sister Phyllis was born in Conception Junction, MO on May 31, 1932, and grew up on a family farm in Sheridan, MO. As a young child, she knew that she was called by God to be a sister and remembered her dad as supportive of her vocation. Sister Phyllis attended high school at Mt. St. Scholastica Academy in Atchison, KS, which reinforced her call to religious life. She entered St. Scholastica Convent in 1950 and made her final monastic profession on January 1, 1955.

Sister Phyllis was an elementary teacher, serving in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Colorado, and a Head Start teacher in Walsenburg, CO. The 1960s brought many changes to her life, including becoming a charter member of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs. She was one of several sisters who spent the summer of 1963 cleaning and preparing for seventy-seven sisters to journey from Atchison to establish the new monastery.

Sister Phyllis became the Food Manager and a cook at the new Benet Hill Academy for high school aged girls. Later, Sister Phyllis was asked to enter a nursing program, and this new ministry brought everything together for her. She said, “…my life was a puzzle with a missing piece. After I started nursing, I found the missing piece and completed the puzzle. I am excited about serving my sisters in this capacity, especially since I get so much personal wisdom from the wisdom of the sisters I serve.” Sister Phyllis ministered as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Missouri, Wyoming, and Colorado, and served as the Nursing Supervisor for the monastery.

Later in life, Sister Phyllis started a new ministry: “I acquire stuffed animals and then distribute them to adults or children who visit the monastery. They or their loved ones will benefit and take comfort from having one of the stuffed animals. Something so simple can bring so much joy to another.”

Sister Phyllis is remembered for the joy, compassion, and comfort that she brought to so many lives. She is also remembered for her playfulness and love for ice cream. Most of all, we remember Sister Phyllis for her deep love for God and her community.

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