August 09, 2017

St. Kate’s mourns Professor Emerita John Christine Wolkerstorfer, CSJ, ’53

Sister John Christine

John Christine Wolkerstorfer, CSJ, ’53, professor emerita of American History at St. Catherine, died on August 3, 2017 at Carondelet Village in St. Paul. She was 86.

A Memorial Mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, August 10, at 11 a.m. in Our Lady of Presentation Chapel, 1884 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, with visitation one hour prior to Mass. Interment at Resurrection Cemetery.

Born Marianne Kathryn on May 4, 1931 in St. Paul, she was the youngest of 10 children born to Marie Christine and John Wolkerstorfer. She graduated as valedictorian of her St. Joseph Academy Class of 1949, then joined the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 8, 1949. She earned a B.A. in American History from St. Kate’s in 1953, followed by M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American History from the University of Minnesota.

Sister John Christine retired from St. Kate’s in 1997, after serving 24 years in the history department. She taught courses on various topics, with specialties in 19th century American history, immigration history, ethnic studies, the American civil war and reconstruction, and studies in nativism in American history.

During this time, she also served as St. Kate’s political liaison both at the local and national levels. She chaired an oral history project for 11 years — the results of which spawned More than a Dream, the 1992 history of St. Kate’s that she and Sr. Rosalie Ryan co-authored. Active in the national and state oral history societies, Sister John Christine used her work in this area in two other books: Pride in Past, Faith in the Future — A History of the Catholic Aid Association of Saint Paul, Minnesota 1878–1996 and You Shall Be My People — A History of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Sister John Christine was involved in several innovative programs sponsored by St. Kate's. She was an early faculty member in the Weekend College, team-taught honors courses in the program, and was among the first to offer an Early American history course on computer for the Distance Learning Program.

Before launching her university teaching career, she taught 10 years in the archdiocesan parochial system and nine years in Catholic secondary education. She also taught briefly at St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota. Always an active member of her religious community, Sister John Christine served on various committees and boards for the St. Paul Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Memorials preferred to Sisters of St. Joseph Retirement Fund. Arr. O’Halloran & Murphy Funeral home, 651-698-0796.