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Sister Virginia Houske, 79 Print E-mail
Written by TRF Times   
    Crookston - Sister Virginia Houske, 79, died at RiverView Hospital in Crookston, on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.
    Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, Jan. 6 at Sacred Heart Chapel, Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Crookston.
    Viona Joan Houske was born on March 22, 1932 near Saint Hilarie, the first of the three children of Viola and Oscar Houske. Joanie, as she was called by the family, took delight in dressing up in her prettiest clothes to attend a nearby Lutheran Church with her family.  Though she joined the Catholic Church at the age of eighteen, she valued and cherished her background in the Lutheran Church.
    While she was a student at Moorhead State College, Viona told Father Elmer, OSB, that she was thinking about becoming a Dominican sister. He asked, “What’s wrong with the Benedictines?” Father Elmer then introduced her to the sisters teaching at Saint Joseph’s School, Moorhead, who invited her to spend a weekend at Mount Saint Benedict.
    Viona entered the Mount community on August 15, 1953, and received the habit and the name of Sister Virginia on July 3, 1954. Sister Virginia made her final monastic profession on July 11, 1958.
    She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of North Dakota where she was also inducted into the music honor society of Pi Lambda Theta. Later she was also named to Who’s Who of American Women.
Sister Virginia taught in elementary schools in Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Red Lake Falls, Barnesville and Crookston.
    Music was the undying love of Sister Virginia’s life, and she dedicated herself to teaching piano and organ students. Sister Virginia had a special place in her heart for Hispanic families and for those who were less advantaged financially. In addition to teaching music and offering her services as a church organist, she prepared many young people to receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. For many years she also taught religious education to migrant children. Sister Virginia also took delight in playing and singing Gregorian Chant, Latin Motets and the Latin Divine Office.
    Sister Virginia said, “My personal mission is to praise God by playing the organ and participating in liturgy and by teaching music to enable others to develop their talents to sing, to play, and to pray. As a Benedictine, I strive also to live according the Rule of Saint Benedict, whose motto is ‘ora et labora.’ (pray and work) that in all things God may be glorified.”
    She is survived by her two brothers, John and Raleigh, and the members of her monastic community.
    Her parents, Viola and Oscar, preceded her in death.