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Mary Laurel's Story

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Sister Mary Laurel Hautman, 80, of the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, died Sunday, July 31, 2016 at the convent.
Born Oct. 16, 1935, in Cincinnati, she was the daughter of Verena (Kopp) and Louis Hautman. She entered the convent Sept. 8, 1952, and made her final vows Aug. 12, 1958.

She attended St. Dominic School. Mary Laurel's brothers were slightly older than she, and each eventually left to fight in World War II. The young student recalled, "From the time that I was in the second to the seventh grade, my four brothers were never home together. There was constant coming and going as they came home on furloughs, and soon we would take them back to the Union Terminal. When the war was over, we were very blessed as they all came home."
Later Mary Laurel attended high school at the Immaculate Conception Academy, Oldenburg, where she became familiar with the Sisters of St. Francis. During her junior year, she began to consider a religious vocation.
The young novice went on to graduate from both Marian University and Xavier University. Sister Mary Laurel started her ministry as an elementary teacher having taught at Holy Family, Richmond; St. Anthony, Streator, Illinois; Our Lady of Mercy, Dayton, Ohio; and Our Lady of Victory, St. James, St. Aloysius Gonzaga and Our Lady of Lourdes, Cincinnati, Ohio. She served as a pastoral associate at St. Bonaventure, Cincinnati, and finally as co-director of the Sisters' communications office in Oldenburg.
During her 30-year teaching career, Sister Mary Laurel taught grades one, two, three and six, but her favorite was teaching the first-grade students as they were so eager to learn and full of energy. During a sabbatical year she was blessed to travel to visit the convent's Prayer Lodge in Montana, and returned there years later for another visit. Mary Laurel greatly treasured her memories of the Native Americans she met - and their prayer ceremonies, dances and pow-wows. In her retirement years she continued to minister in the Office of Congregational Advancement, and later as a minister of praise, and appreciated all the care she received from Sister Judith Werner through the years, and from the caring staff at St. Clare Hall.
Sister Mary Laurel once commented, "As I look back on my years in community, some years have not been easy, but I learned long ago that the convent and our community in particular is where I am supposed to be. God has walked close to me all during these years, and I describe my God as holding my hand as we walk this journey of life together."
She is survived by nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by brothers Louis, Thomas, Robert and Jerry Hautman.
Visitation is Thursday, Aug. 4, from 1-3 p.m. at the convent chapel. Funeral services follow at 3 p.m. with the Rev. James Meade officiating. Burial is in the convent cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, P.O. Box 100, Oldenburg, IN, 47036 (www.oldenburgfranciscans.org).
Weigel Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Published on August 1, 2016
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