Sister Ruth Marie Soens was born Dolores Soens on July 9, 1937 in Kenosha, WI. She is the youngest of six children: three boys and three girls. One of the girls – Ruth Marie – died at age 5 of scarlet fever, before Dolores was born. In 1957, Dolores took her vows with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. She adopted the name of Sister Ruth Marie in honor of her beloved older sister and has kept it ever since.

Sister Ruth Marie taught primary grades for 23 years and then 25 years at St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin providing childcare, working in the library, driving, and working the switchboard. St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin is a corporate ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.  It provides quality residential, day/vocational programs, and services for people with development disabilities and other challenges.

In May 2019, Sister Ruth Marie and 47 other sisters moved into Elizabeth Hall (assisted living) within the newly built St. Francis of Assisi convent. The new convent also includes 32 memory care rooms in Clare Circle. Residents of Elizabeth Hall have access to a lovely paved outside patio. This outside space has been a godsend for sisters wishing to visit with friends and family, as COVID-19 restrictions prevent visitors from entering the convent. The patio, which faces south and west, receives sun throughout the day, making it uncomfortable to enjoy on hot summer days. A 2021 grant from SOAR! provided the funds to add a mechanical, roll-up awning to the patio. This addition has made the patio much more conducive for sisters to visit with friends and family or simply enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Here is a quote from Sister Ruth Marie Soens:

How is it that my life has been so blessed (Family, Faith, Sisters, Congregation, Ministries)?

For 23 years I taught mostly first graders in Wisconsin and Illinois parish schools. After that I spent 25 years working with developmentally challenged young people and adults at St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin.  Those wonderful people and co-workers will remain in my mind and heart always.

Now as a retired religious, I have more time for prayer, reading, resting, and relaxing with my sisters, family, and friends. One of my visits this past summer was with two of my nieces outside where we did not have to wear masks. It was a great visit despite the heat. Now that we have an awning (thanks to SOAR!), during our next visit we can choose an area in the shade and all will be comfortable.

So many Blessings and I am so grateful!