Birth: August 18, 1929
Profession: Feb. 8, 1960
Death: November 13, 2013
Religious of the Sacred Heart Rosemary Dewey, died Wednesday, November 13, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart’s elder care center in Atherton, California. Remembered as a natural leader and devoted friend, her life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 23 at Oakwood, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton, CA 94027. Burial will be at Oakwood.
Rosemary Frances Dewey, better known as Ronnie, was born August 18, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois to William Manzer and Elizabeth Ervin Dewey. As the youngest of four children, she was predeceased by her parents, two brothers, Robert Dewey and James Dewey, a sister, Betty (Mrs. Conrad) Wyvell. She is survived by nieces Judy Preusser, Gainsville, Virginia; Carolyn Dumm, Denver; Annie Fitz, Denver; Jan Jones, Pasadena, California; Jill Janczak, Glenview, Illinois, and Jody Williams, Hurst, Texas; nephews William M. Dewey, Denver; John Wyvell, Thurmont, Maryland, and Tim Dewey, Hurst, Texas, and her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Ronnie’s family lived in Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel, which her father owned, until Ronnie was six, when she moved to Winnetka, Illinois. She attended Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest as a day student, then attended Manhattanville College in New York, also operated by the Society of the Sacred Heart. In October, 1951, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart, something she’d felt called to do from the eighth grade. She made her first vows in 1954 and her final profession, in Rome, in 1960.
Sister Dewey’s first assignment was in the middle school and high school at Schools of the Sacred Heart, Chicago (Sheridan Road), where she stayed for three years, followed by a year at the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha. In 1961, she was assigned to Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois. She taught and served as treasurer for three years before becoming head of school in 1964, where she served for five years. After a year in Cleveland, she returned to Sheridan Road to train other teachers.
Sister Dewey had an even-tempered disposition and natural ease with people that made her a natural leader who won the trust of those around her. She served on the Canadian Province’s provincial team, 1972-73, when they had a need for her particular skills. She later recalled this time as one of her happiest memories. She then returned to Woodlands as principal for a year. From 1974–76, she directed the Society’s noviceship in Newton, Massachusetts. Finally, she served as provincial of the Chicago province, 1976-1982, when the five provinces in the United States joined to become one.
Sister Sheila Hammond recalls an experience she had discerning ministry during Sister Dewey’s term as provincial. “This was formative for me for many reasons: her openness and willingness to be transformed by what she believed was God’s spirit has been a profound experience to me. Ronnie showed me how to be a woman of God and to hold power lightly and gently.”
In 1982 Sister Dewey took a well-deserved sabbatical at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where earned her Master’s Degree in Theological Studies, then served as assistant to the president there for two more years, 1984-86.
From 1986-92 Sister Dewey ministered at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, as teacher and director of the high school. She then spent a year helping hurricane victims before returning to Chicago. She served as dean of faculty at Josephinum Academy, 1993-99.
In 1999, she returned to the Newton noviceship for a year, while also working as an assistant in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools office. From 2000 until her retirement in 2010, she ministered in social work in Chicago.
Sister Dewey had a gift for friendship. Her loyalty was demonstrated in her lifelong devotion not only to her friends but to the Chicago Cubs. A lifelong learner, her studies ranged from spirituality to human relations and ministering to people with AIDS.