Sister DePaul Stava, OSB, was born in Chicago, the youngest of three children. Difficult times during the Depression required that Sister and her brother live at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Lisle. An older sister was raised by another family relative. At the orphanage, from the early age of three, Sister DePaul came to know and love the Benedictine Sisters. “They taught me how to pray, sew, play and do most everything.” She learned commercial skills such as typing, shorthand, adding machine and general office skills. Her junior and senior years of high school, sponsored by Catholic Charities, were spent at Sacred Heart Academy where Sister DePaul became very close to Sister Charlotte Vesely.“She was always so happy and just radiated joy. I wanted to be just like her and she was the first one to know about my decision to enter the Convent.”
Sister tells an amusing story about her preparations for entering the convent in August of 1949. “I went to camp that summer in Pistakee Bay in McHenry, Illinois.. The night before I was to enter, I set my hair and wanted to look special for my entrance. But the Brothers at camp had a different idea. They got me that evening and threw me into the water. So the next day I entered with pig tails.”
Sister DePaul taught in the elementary school system for over thirty years. She was a teacher, principal, school secretary and she now works at Villa St. Benedict as an Assistant in the Activity Department. Sister loves to work with the residents and help them get the most out of their activity time together.
Sister DePaul loves to tell jokes and make people laugh. She plays the harmonica. She has a special love for stamp collecting. Be sure to ask Sister to show you her unique collection of first issue Madonna and Christmas/Nativity scene stamps. She remains close to her novitiate class and for over 25 years now, takes an annual trip with one of her closest friends from this class. They have been to the Holy Land, Rome, Hawaii, Yellowstone, Yosemit, Colorado, California and Michigan.
On the recent occasion of Sister DePaul's last jubilee, one of her fellow Sisters put together a description of her special traits.
D- stands for delightful and dramatic
E- is for expressions
P- is for personality and public performance
A- stands for albums
U- is for unique
L- stands for laughter
That spells DePaul. May her gift of being who she is always keep us light-hearted and playful.