Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ, Peoria native, dies May 9; funeral services pending

Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ, who served in Peoria for 38 years as a social worker, teacher and school counselor, died May 9, 2020, in St. Louis. She was also active in Cursillo.(Provided photo)

ST. LOUIS — Sister Roberta Cecile Houlihan, CSJ, a longtime social worker and counselor in Peoria who was also active in Cursillo, died May 9, 2020, at Nazareth Living Center here. She was 93.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Born on Sept. 5, 1926, in Peoria, and baptized Phyllis, Sister Roberta was the daughter of Leo Kearney and Erma Marie (Roth) Houlihan. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on Sept. 15, 1944, and made her final profession on Jan. 1, 1950.

She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fontbonne College, St. Louis, in 1958, and would go on to earn a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from the University of Notre Dame in 1966.

Her ministry as a teacher and counselor took Sister Roberta to elementary schools and high schools in St. Louis, Chicago, Green Bay, and Denver. In 1974 she came to Peoria, where she would remain for 38 years.

She was a social worker at Catholic Social Services until 1978, and then taught and served as a counselor at Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute in Peoria for 10 years. From 1988 until her retirement in 2007, Sister Roberta was a counselor at Peoria Notre Dame High School.

While in Peoria, she was on many Cursillo teams and involved in numerous renewal weekends.

In 2012, Sister Roberta took up a ministry of prayer and presence at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis.


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