Sister Adelaide Valtierra, SSMN, faithful educator, dies at 94
FORT WORTH — Growing up in a small town near Weatherford, Sister Adelaide Valtierra had a loving grandmother who taught her to love the Blessed Sacrament. It was a devotion that grew stronger over the course of her life.
So when the 94-year-old Sister of St. Mary of Namur passed away on Holy Thursday, April 6, members of her community found comfort in knowing she died on a day when the Church celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ.
Before taking the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose at the end of a Holy Thursday liturgy at the Our Lady of Victory Center, Father Richard Flores carried it in a procession to Sr. Adelaide’s room in the infirmary.
“Father was still walking back to the chapel when the hospice nurse called to say she drew her last breath,” said Sister Louise Smith, archivist for the religious order’s Western Province. “Sister Adelaide’s love for the Blessed Sacrament was rewarded in her last moments.”
A Mass of Christian Burial is planned for Wednesday, April 19 at 11 a.m. in St. Andrew Catholic Church, 3312 Dryden Road, with interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery. The sisters and oblates of her religious community will have a private Rosary and wake service on April 18.
After meeting members of the congregation following high school graduation, the daughter of Tirzo and Maria Valtierra joined the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur in 1952 and found joy in going to Mass, praying and living with the other young postulants. She studied education at the University of Dallas and Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and began teaching in various schools staffed by her order.
“She usually taught the lower grades and always instilled love for the Blessed Sacrament in the children,” Sr. Louise continued. “On weekends, Sr. Adelaide prepared youngsters for first Communion during CCD classes and she would certainly have instilled a love for the Blessed Sacrament in them also.”
Years later, the devoted educator worked in the U.S. government’s Head Start and Project Follow Through programs designed to help disadvantaged children.
Celebrating 60 years as a SSMN in 2012, Sr. Adelaide reflected on her time in the classroom. Known for her creativity as an elementary school teacher, she believed in hands-on learning that made learning fun and exciting for her students.
“During my teaching years, I tried to bring God into all the classes I taught, often using His gifts of nature,” Sr. Adelaide explained. “I encouraged students to do their best work for God, hoping they would take this attitude of respect for all things with them through life.”
Retired from teaching, the service-oriented sister participated in the Mexico Project led by the Maryknoll Sisters and later traveled to Honduras with a medical team from Holy Family Parish as a Spanish translator. An active member of the Fort Worth Ceramic Guild, she often displayed her pieces at their annual fairs. Horticulture was another interest.
“It is a joy for me to be with the other sisters at Our Lady of Victory Center,” the retiree once mused. “I am blessed to have the time to admire and smell the flowers and to absorb the beauty around us…as prayerfully as possible.”
Sr. Adelaide is survived by her fellow SSMNS, a sibling and many loving nephews and nieces.