Sister Viola Heichelbech, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Wichita Center, celebrated her 102nd birthday Wednesday, March 8, at Mt. St. Mary’s Convent in Wichita.
Sister Viola has been a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph for 86 years, during which she has had a variety of experiences. She was a housekeeper for the sisters and two bishops, and worked at an orphanage in El Dorado before she became certified in food service administration and hospital food service supervision.
Sister Viola worked in the dietary department of several congregation hospitals including St. Joseph Hospital in Wichita. While she was at St. Joseph’s, her last assignment before she moved to the Mount in 1989, she also helped to care for her aging mother. After she moved to the Mount, Sr. Viola cared for her older sister for several years before retiring in 2005.
Attempting to put 100 candles on a cake isn’t unusual for the family.
The Jan. 24, 1985, edition of the Catholic Advance has a photo of Sr. Viola posing with her mother, Mary Heichelbech, who celebrated her 102nd birthday on Jan. 12, 1985. Mrs. Heichelbech lived alone until she was 100 years old. Today, her daughter, Sister Viola, has many sister sisters assisting her.