Sr. Markita Haefling (79) died Monday, October 24, 2011, in the Great Bend Motherhouse Infirmary in her 59th year of religious profession. Born December 14, 1931, in Strong City, Kansas, as Kathryn Haefling, Sr. Markita was the daughter of the late Marion and Mary Anne (Beumer) Haefling. Her family included five sisters and three brothers, one of whom is Father Maurice, a Benedictine priest of the abbey in Atchison, Kansas, and another was Sr. Edna of the Great Bend community. She entered the Dominican Sisters' community of Great Bend September 18, 1949, and pronounced her first vows June 7, 1952.
After earning an education degree, Sr. Markita taught elementary and secondary education at schools in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado from 1952 to 1993. Always a student, Sr. Markita spent sabbatical time in Mount Angel in Oregon and Aquinas Institute in Missouri. Many summers were devoted to mathematical and scientific studies which she later delighted in teaching, and she loved to identify rocks, minerals, and fossils and share that love with other outdoor hikers and mountain lovers.
In 1995, she began ministry in Mercy Housing in Denver, Colorado, a position she held until 2004. There she worked among disadvantaged mothers and children from abusive or neglected homes. She was still working in housing in Denver when she accepted the position of Assistant Treasurer at the Great Bend Motherhouse.
Sr. Markita loved to make crafts from recyclable materials which she donated to the Annual Mission Bazaar each November. But most of all, Sr. Markita loved the outdoors and was an avid backpacker and hiker. The Colorado Rockies found her many a summer on a backpacking retreat. High peaks and rugged trails would seem out of character for such a petite person as Sr. Markita, but she relished her treks into the wilderness and camping out at night in the high country. When in the mountains, she blossomed and seemed to come out of the quiet, shy, gentle spirit that many knew as Sr. Markita.
The wake and funeral Mass for Sr. Markita were held on October 27 and 28. Her brother Rev. Maurice Haefling, OSB, presided over the funeral Mass. Sr. Markita requested to be cremated, and her cremains were placed in a lovely hand-crafted vessel created by Dan Hertel, a Great Bend Motherhouse maintenance employee and artist-in-wood; the burial was held in the Dominican Sisters' Resurrection Cemetery.
Memorial gifts in Sr. Markita Haefling's name may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219-2098 or submitted securely online at www.oppeace.org.
Submitted by Sr. Elaine Osborne, OP
Click here to read the reflection written by Sr. Irene Hartman, OP, offered at Sr. Markita's wake service.
Click here for a printable PDF