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Elaine Skrzypczynska was born on April 19, 1940 and baptized at Holy Innocents. Her father, elated with his firstborn daughter, chose her name, Elaine; for the rest of her life, her name was special to her, because it signified that she was precious in the hearts of her family members. Before long, Elaine had two siblings: brother Bobby and sister Patricia Marie. She loved every minute of being the ‘big sister’.
She attended Holy Innocents grade school before moving on to Holy Family Academy, where she first met the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, happy with being assigned to the homeroom class of Sr. Rita Mary (Sebastian) homeroom, who was very well liked among students. In their junior year, two of Elaine’s close friends decided that they would be entering the convent. This, along with encouraging words from Sr. Rita Mary, allowed Elaine to see that God was calling her to Nazareth.
Elaine became a postulant in May of 1957, finishing her senior year at the Academy that same year. Her entrance into the novitiate was in 1958, at which time she received the name Sr. Odilia. Years later, Sister returned to the baptismal name that her father so loved and was called Sr. Elaine.
Sr. Elaine’s ministry, for most of her life, was education. She especially enjoyed teaching junior high school students and effectively did this at Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Hedwig, St. Margaret Mary, and St. Blase. She worked towards her Master’s Degree in Education to prepare for service in education administration and, from there, began an assignment as principal of St. Casimir School in South Bend, Indiana, followed by an assignment at St. Ladislaus School in Chicago, and then returning to St. Margaret Mary School in Neenah, WI, where under her leadership as principal, won the Excellence in Education Award from the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Her last ministry in the field of education, was as principal of St. Gilbert School in Grayslake IL.
Following her years in education, Sister Elaine began classes in Clinical Pastoral Education in preparation for Spiritual Services and Chaplaincy. Sister served in this new ministry at St. Andrew’s Retirement Home and eventually at Resurrection Life Center.
In 2014, Sr. Elaine retired from active ministry and transitioned into Ascension Living Nazarethville Place. Her brilliant smile became a beacon for others while there, and she spent her time sharing stories of her years of service and listening to others as they shared their own.
Very quietly in the late evening of March 13, 2023, Sr. Elaine was called home to the Lord. To share your messages of remembrance, please visit our Message of Remembrance page. May she rest in peace.