Sister Charlotte Marie Foppe was a Sister of Mercy for 74 years. During the novitiate, while she was learning about being a Sister of Mercy, she studied at Our Lady of Cincinnati College, and later she earned a degree in library science from Spalding College.
Her ministries included teaching elementary school and being an elementary principal—she did this in Cincinnati, Toledo and Amelia. She had a degree in library science, so being the school librarian was also frequently a part of her job.
Sister Charlotte was especially close to her family. She enjoyed telling stories about her father being a mailman and going to daily Mass with him, after which he would let her drive the car. She so often sent someone a wedding gift or a birthday card. She loved being present at family celebrations and made every effort to be there when she was feeling well.
She collected stamps and coins over the years. She had a good voice and sang in every Jubilee choir. She enjoyed travel. She spent a summer in Switzerland, once, and three months at the Sisters of Mercy International Center in Ireland. She traveled with the Children’s International Summer Village to Norway, Italy, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Her bedroom had a wonderful display of souvenirs from many of those places.
With a real gift for grant writing, she was able to help fund many projects over the years. One that was dear to her heart was helping the refugees who worked at McAuley and their families get into the country and pay for the expenses involved with citizenship. She also tutored a number of them to prepare for the citizenship test.
Sometimes we say of someone: “She never knew a stranger.” Anyone who knew her would have to realize how appropriate that saying was for her. She never met anyone with whom she couldn’t find a way to connect. She’d question the person about his family, her job, their parish, where they went to high school, and where the person lived. And Charlotte knew someone who worked there or attended that school or parish or knew someone who knew someone who…and so on.
Sister Charlotte loved to gamble. At the convent, she would never miss BINGO or a chance to bet on horses, football, or split the pot. She really enjoyed going to the casino for an afternoon or a weekend. She not only loved to gamble, she liked to talk to all the people she met and enjoyed going out to dinner. Besides that, she was really lucky.
She was very private about her spirituality and prayer life, but if there were one word that would describe her, it would be generosity. Her life was for others. After many years of working to improve her places of ministry, she became the convent librarian when she came to McAuley. Her last Master Card statement showed donations to many organizations that she supported. She was concerned about people who were ill or having a hard time. She cared about the world. And I’m pretty sure that all of us were remembered in the generosity of her prayers.