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Obituary: Sr. Mary Lawrence Vanderburg, SFP

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Vanderburg, Sr. Mary Lawrence (nee: Dorothy Louise) passed quietly into the heart of God on Monday, March 28, 2022 at the age of 96. Dorothy was born on September 25, 1925 to the late Joseph and Mary Ruth Vanderburg in Columbus, Ohio. She was the sixth of eight children, six of her siblings are deceased: Helen, Joseph, Clara, Leo, Lawrence and Irene. From a large family, Dorothy always valued her simple upbringing with loving parents and the built-in companionship of her siblings. Aware of the special bond of family, Dorothy fostered relationships throughout her entire life.

As a young woman, Dorothy worked for a doctor associated with St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The built-in connection with the hospital, would prove the roadway God would use to invite her to seek religious life as a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. Accepting her vocation was a challenge for Dorothy. She finally sought to test out her call by entering the Congregation on October 26, 1949.

Dorothy took the name Sr. Mary Lawrence to honor her brother who died in World War II. She made first Profession of Vows in May of 1952 and Perpetual Profession five years later in 1957. Early on, she pursued her studies, obtaining her BS in Business at the University of Dayton and a few years later a Masters in Hospital Administration from Xavier University. No time was wasted in putting her education into immediate practice by becoming part of the Administration in a few of the Congregational sponsored hospitals in Ohio and Kentucky. However, there was always a dear spot in her heart for Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky where she spent close to 30 years of her life. She was always a “people person” cherishing the many connections she made over the years. Her genuineness, kindness and joyful spirit made her an attractive force to many.

In her last decade of life, Sr. Mary Lawrence continued to be engaged, helping as she could with the early beginnings of Tamar Center, a day Center for addicted women involved in human trafficking. As her physical needs changed, she became a volunteer at the Franciscan Peddler Thrift Store on the grounds of St. Clare Campus. In her most recent years, she devoted her time to prayer, reading and always having a door (and heart) graciously open to welcome others.

She leaves behind her fellow sisters, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, her sister Mary Ann Vanderburg Gin, countless loving nieces and nephew, along with extended family, many friends and acquaintances over the years.

A Wake and Liturgy of Resurrection will be held on Tuesday, April 5 at St. Clare Chapel. The Wake will begin at 9am and Liturgy at 10:00am. The service will be livestreamed on Facebook at Franciscan Sisters of the Poor/U.S. Area beginning at 10:00 am.  In lieu of flowers, kindly direct donations in her memory to Franciscan Ministries Inc. 110 Compton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215 or at www.franciscaministriesinc.org.

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