Colorado native, Loretto Sister Lois (formerly Sister Mary Carol) Dunphy, died May 26 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was 93 and in the 77th year of her life as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross. She served as an educator and office manager in the Archdiocese of Denver for a quarter century and also served in Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.
Sister Lois was born Dec. 2, 1923, in Eastlake, Colo., the second child of Coloradans Edith Louise (Molholm) and Arthur John Dunphy. She attended Holy Family High School in Denver, graduating in 1941. In May of that year, she wrote to Loretto, asking to enter the novitiate. She was readily accepted, and in October of that same year entered from Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Eastlake. She was received into the congregation April 25, 1942, donning the habit and taking the name of her older sibling, Carol. Sister Lois made her first vows April 25, 1944, and her final vows Aug. 15, 1947. In the late 1960s, she resumed her baptismal name. Sister Lois earned a bachelor’s degree in history, with minors in education and English, from Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1954 and a master’s in history from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., in 1961.
In the Denver Archdiocese, Sister Lois taught at Blessed Sacrament School in Denver (1952-1960), All Souls School in Englewood (1966-1967) and at St. Louis Parish School in Louisville, Colo. (1982-1986). She also was an office clerk at Pride Realty in Thornton (1980-1981) and receptionist at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood (1987-1988). In addition, Sister Lois served the Loretto Community in the Denver area (1991-1993) and provided clerical services and served as office manager at Loretto’s Denver Staff Office (1993-2001). For several years, Sister Lois also cared for her parents while residing in her family’s home in Broomfield.
Elsewhere, Sister Lois served nearly 20 years in New Mexico, where she taught elementary grades in parochial schools, was a superior, principal and parish minister, and taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and religious education. Sister Lois also served one year as a peer counselor at Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas, and taught parochial school in St. Louis for five years.
In 2001, she retired to the Loretto Center in Littleton, Colo., moving to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary in 2003. Residing at the Motherhouse, she helped guide its committee on peace and justice, enjoyed daily exercise, cross-stitching and making dream catchers, and carried out a ministry of prayer and presence until her death.
Sister Lois was preceded in death by her parents, her older sibling, Loretto Sister Carol (formerly Sister Peter Michael) Dunphy and her brother, Arthur Lynn Dunphy. She is survived by her sister, Phyllis Brachle of Lakewood, CO.
A funeral Mass for Sister Lois was celebrated May 29 at the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. She was buried in the Loretto Motherhouse Cemetery.
Memorials in Sister Lois’s name may be sent to the Loretto Community, care of the Loretto Development Office, 4000 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80123-1308.