Sr. Elizabeth Olsen, BVM Retiring to Mount Carmel

Sister Elizabeth Olsen, BVM is set to retire at the end of September this year. She is the sole remaining Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Montana and will be concluding 30 years of service as chaplain for St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. She said, “I was born and raised at (Immaculate Conception Parish) in Butte.” Sr. Liz found a powerful witness of faith in the religious sisters who educated her, “I recognized my calling out of the Butte community.”

She entered the BVMs in 1960 and served as an educator in many capacities. She has also spearheaded youth ministry, grief ministry, funeral ministry, and ministry to the homebound. She is well known in many Montana communities, including Wolf Point, Dillon and Whitefish, but she most fondly recalls her ten years in Anaconda where she both explored and developed pastoral ministries in collaboration with Fr. John (Jack) Hunthausen. “My time in Anaconda was very formative for me, but more than that it was a vibrant and hopeful experience.”

Sr. Liz spent two summers in Charleston, SC to try out hospital ministry which led to a study in Chaplaincy at Mercy College of Health Sciences in DesMoines, IA. She experienced something of an epiphany at Mercy College saying, “It put a cap and a structure on much of my Anaconda experience.” Following that, she was invited to return to Montana and began chaplaincy at St. Patrick’s, something she regards as, “The most enjoyable and richest ministry experience I have had.”

Sr. Liz will move to Mount Carmel the administrative headquarters of the Sisters of Charity in Dubuque, Iowa. It is also home to retired BVMs who are in need of different levels of care and sisters who are active in the Dubuque community. She sees herself as assisting with care as needed and hopes that her love of driving will come in handy if any of the sisters need to travel. On leaving, she said, “It will be so hard to leave Montana but I don’t need to worry about turning off the light because of so many associates. I know that so much good will still be done.”