Sr. Rose Mary Heineck

Ascended to Heaven

February 1, 2024

Sister Rose Mary Heineck

Sr. Rose Mary (also known as Sr. Mary Francine) was born in Bend, Ore. on December 5, 1931 to Benjamin and Josephine (Franck) Heineck. With her two brothers and four sisters, Sr. Rose Mary grew up in a family where the Catholic faith with family prayer and devotions was very important. She began her elementary education at St. Matthew School, Hillsboro and she graduated from St. Mary of the Valley (now Valley Catholic) High School, Beaverton in 1950. 

Sr. Rose Mary entered the SSMO on August 15, 1950 and professed perpetual vows as a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon on August 15, 1955. Sr. Rose Mary celebrated her 70th Jubilee as a consecrated woman religious in 2020.

In her 46 years as a Catholic school educator, Sr. Rose Mary fulfilled the SSMO mission to proclaim the Good News of God’s love with creativity, educational excellence, and a deep, prayer-filled love of her students. Professionally prepared with a B.S. in Education from Marylhurst (1959) and a M.A. in Religious Education from Fort Wright College, Spokane, WA (1973). Sr. Rose Mary taught primary students in the Archdiocese of Portland schools at Visitation (Verboort), St. Matthew (Hillsboro), St. Francis of Assisi (Roy), St. Mary of the Valley/Valley Catholic (Beaverton), Sacred Heart (Gervais), St. Agatha (Portland), Our Lady of Sorrows (Portland), St. Mary (Stayton), St. Cecilia (Beaverton), and St. Paul (St. Paul). In addition, she served in the Diocese of Spokane at St. Mary Catholic School (Spokane). She continued her professional development with courses from OCE and University of Portland.

In 1999, Sr. Rose Mary changed her focus to working in Liturgical Art. With a creative genius that could design beauty out of nothing, she masterminded art for Sacred Liturgy, seasonal decorations, greeting cards, and decoupaged icons. Her great joy was gifting her art works to others especially her SSMO Community. Many newly ordained priests and newly professed Sisters received these icons, the work of her hands and heart.

In interactions with Sr. Rose Mary, one always experienced her wit and humor, her individual care and compassion, and her deeply rooted-in-prayer wisdom. Aware of the concerns of other SSMOs, friends and family, she remembered these in her daily prayer faithfully. Her travels brought her closer to Christ and his Mother Mary. She cherished the experiences of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000 and the graces of her visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s shrine in Mexico. Her favorite quotation from St. Augustine, “Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee,” aptly describes the focus of her life as she sought our Lord in her SSMO ministry, community, prayer and love for God’s people. More, her restlessness sought that she and those she encountered would know and rest in God’s presence and love.

Sr. Rose Mary passed away on February 1, 2024 at the SSMO Motherhouse. She is missed with love and appreciation for the blessing of her life by her Sisters in SSMO Community, her many nieces and nephews, her caregivers and many dear friends. Sr. Rose Mary Heineck was preceded in death by her parents Benjamin and Josephine Heineck, her brothers Leo and Joe Heineck, her sisters Mary Stuck, Margaret Heineck, Sr. Rose Mary’s twin Frances Boyd, and Bernadine Heineck.