Sr. Mary Virginia Butkovich, OSF, Canton native, dies at 93

WEST PEORIA — A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on April 5 in the chapel of Immaculate Conception Convent for Sister Mary Virginia Butkovich, OSF, who was in her 75th year of religious profession. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery here on April 6.

Sister Mary Virginia, 93, died on March 31, 2011, at Mother of Peace Home in West Peoria.

The daughter of Fred and Agatha (Sepich) Butkovich, Sister Mary Virginia was born July 12, 1917, in Canton. Her teachers at St. Mary’s School were the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Heading Avenue Franciscans, and it was their “interest, kindness and compassion” that attracted her to their community.

“It is amazing what surprises have come to me with the gift of religious vocation,” she said when she celebrated her 70th anniversary in 2006. “What I would have missed if I had not accepted and opened the gift!”

Sister Mary Virginia entered the Heading Avenue Franciscans on Sept. 9, 1933, and professed vows on Aug. 12, 1936. She taught music at St. Mary’s School in Peru from 1937 to 1944, and at Sacred Heart School in Moline from 1944 to 1950.

In 1951 she returned to Immaculate Conception Convent in West Peoria and served in a variety of roles, including that of teacher to those in formation, liturgist, organist and archivist. She was president of her community for two terms, from 1967 to 1977, and vice president from 1985 to 1989.

She also worked in the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Peoria from 1978 to 1979.

In addition to the Heading Avenue Franciscans, with whom she shared her life, Sister Mary Virginia is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to the Retirement Fund of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, 2408 W. Heading Ave., West Peoria, IL 61604-5096.

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