Sister Mary Luke Sondgeroth, OSF, was born on July 30, 1935, in LaSalle, Ill., the eldest of 11 children of William Vincent and Bernardine (Didier) Sondgeroth.
She was baptized Shirley Marie on Aug. 9, 1935, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Peterstown, Ill. She had eight brothers, Kenneth of Arlington, lll.; Gerald and Richard of Mendota, Ill.; Dennis and Keith of Byron, Ill.; Gary of Peru, Ill.; Vernon of Princeton, Ill.; and Mark of Malden, Ill.; and two sisters, Marilee Meuser of Ladd, Ill.; and Susan Lewis of LaMoille, Ill.. Gerald and Dennis are deceased.
Shirley Marie attended Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary School in Peterstown, and graduated from Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton, Iowa, in 1953.
She entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Mount St. Clare Convent, Clinton, on Sept. 8, 1952, and received the name Mary Luke at her reception on June 15, 1953. She made her first profession on Aug. 12, 1955, and her final profession on Aug. 12, 1958. Her novitiate classmates were Sisters Louisa Dwyer, Joan Holland, Raymond (Kay) Socha, Constance Ludwig, Antonine (Patricia) Krieger, Julie (Eleanor) Buehler, Bernice Dunk, Marjorie Wisor, Phyllis Morris, Harriet Rump, and Rose Catherine Biitner.
Sister Mary Luke received a B.S. degree in Home Economics from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas, in 1963, and an M. S degree in Nutrition from Iowa State University, Ames, in 1968. She obtained certification in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) from Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa in 1977. She held an Iowa Standard Professional Secondary Teaching Certificate. She obtained a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate from Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill..
Sister Mary Luke worked in a variety of ministries, including teaching, ministry to the sick and elderly, and parish ministry. She taught at St. Patrick School, Perry, Iowa; St. Francis de Paula School, Chicago, Ill.; Mount St. Clare Academy, Clinton; and Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Fonda, Iowa. Following a year of pastoral ministry at Berea and McKee, Kentucky in Appalachia, she was engaged in food service in Davenport, Iowa, as well as hospital and parish ministry in Des Moines, Iowa. She served in AIDS Ministry of Ill. in Joliet. She worked in home health care in Spring Valley and La Salle, Ill. She served in Clinton as part-time pastoral minister at Mercy Medical Center, and part-time assistant at The Arch until she retired in 2009 due to ill health.
Sister Mary Luke lived at The Canticle from 2001 to 2011. In February of 2011 she moved to The Alverno where she died March 2, 2011.