Sister Roberta McKinnon passed away on Feb. 14, 2014 at the age of 92 at the St. Francis Convent in Tiffin, Ohio, where she had spent the last 16 years. As a member of the St. Francis Order, she had dedicated her life to ministries of many kinds which she pursued to the end.
Her early academic career includes her Masters of Music Education from the University of Notre Dame, Southbend, Indiana. As teacher and organist, she taught religious education and social services in various elementary schools in Ohio; at St Francis Convent High School in Tiffin, OH; and at Cherokee Public School. She taught music education for extension courses for various colleges, and served for 10 years in the Diocese of Toledo as the supervisor the diocesan schools.
In 1973, she became the Pastoral Associate at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church on the Qualla Boundary where she was involved in all levels of pastoral presence in Cherokee and Bryson City. Together with a fellow sister companion, they began an era steeped in outreach ministry and community involvement that would extend over 25 years.
There was no limit to Sister Roberta’s diverse involvement in religious, cultural, governmental and social aspects of life in the Cherokee Community. She took part in interfaith studies with local ministers and ecumenical gatherings which promoted cooperation among denominations. Her broad education and musical talents enabled her to fill needs in schools for children and adults. Hispanic ministry Outreach and tutoring were also important issues. She initiated various social programs and served on numerous boards. Spiritual lives were enriched by incorporating Native American rituals into Mass and Prayer Services at Our Lady of Guadalupe. In turn, her love and dedication for the people has been rewarded by the acceptance, respect and confidence the Cherokees showed her. Her Legacy remained with all people who had become good friends and experienced her counseling and love.
In 1992. Sr. Roberta received the Peace Maker Award given by the Third Order Franciscan Federation.
After she returned to the motherhouse in 1998, in her semi-retirement, she continued to be active by active by teaching English to Mexican immigrants, serving as the director of the Wholistic Eldering Project in Tiffin, and serving the community as a minister of prayer.
On Feb. 18, Sr. Roberta’s Funeral Mass and Burial took place on the St. Francis Convent grounds in Tiffin, OH. She has lived her Faith.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis convent, 182 St. Francis Ave. Tiffin, OH 44883.