Taught, ministered for a half-century in Japan
Sister Charlene (Marcella) Huffington, 93, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph in Wichita, died Sunday, May 6, in Marian Hall in Wichita.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, May 9, in Mt. St. Mary’s Convent Resurrection Chapel.
She was born on March 21, 1925, in Wichita, the fifth daughter of Teresa C. Smith and Charles R. Huffington. Her four older sisters, Thelma, Edna, Frances and Charlotte and younger brother Robert preceded her in death. She is survived by 17 nieces and nephews.
Sister Charlene grew up on the family farm, first near Maize, then later moving to Schulte where her early education was at St. Peter Catholic School, followed by high school at the Cathedral High School in Wichita. After graduating from high school, she entered Mt. St. Mary’s Convent in September 1944 and was perpetually professed in 1950.
Sister Charlene prepared for her teaching career at Sacred Heart Junior College in Wichita, Creighton University, and Notre Dame. She then taught in parish schools in the dioceses of Wichita and Dodge City.
In 1952, after volunteering as a missionary to Japan, she spent the first two years in Japan attending language school and the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo. Except for four years when she returned to the U.S. to teach or enjoy some home visits, she spent over 50 years in Japan teaching children in Waifu and the St. Joseph Hospital for Handicapped in Kyoto. For a time her work also included being the Regional Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Japan.
In 2008 she returned from Japan and made her home at Mt. St. Mary’s Convent in Wichita. She busied herself with volunteer activities until her deteriorating health no longer permitted her to do so.
Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Dear Neighbor Ministries, Inc., or the Retirement Fund of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 3700 E. Lincoln, Wichita KS 67218.