Sister Alexis Weinbeck, (born Regina Cecilia Weinbeck), age 94, died Sept. 12, 2020. She is survived by many nieces and nephews and their families, and the School Sisters of St. Francis Community, with whom she shared her life for 76 years.
She was born Dec. 14, 1925, and baptized Regina Cecilia. She was the fifth of eight children of Anna and Henry Weinbeck, and was a cherished daughter of one of the original families to establish generational roots in the city of Winsted.
A strong German atmosphere prevailed in the Weinbeck home. Out of respect for the grandparents, the German language was spoken when they were present.
All eight children attended Holy Trinity Catholic Schools in Winsted. During the Depression years, all were expected to help at home, as well as earn whatever they could to defray their high school tuition. Along with helping at home, Regina detasseled corn, babysat, and worked in a bakery and the town’s telephone office. A strong work ethic, family prayer, and daily Mass were an integral part of the Weinbeck upbringing.
As a child, Regina wanted to be a nurse and nun, and help the sick. Upon completing high school, her aunt, Sister Fortissa, accompanied her to St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. After the year of postulancy, Regina was received into the Sisterhood community, adopting the name, Sister Alexis.
Sister Alexis earned a bachelor of science in nursing, after three years of course work and nursing at Sacred Heart Sanitarium. She went on to pursue a masters in nursing, and for the next 10 years, taught and supervised the nursing students at Alverno College.
After a short respite, Sister Alexis spent four years as the in-service director in a 400-bed hospital in St. Paul, MN. Sister Alexis loved the challenge and great experience. She had the opportunity to reconnect with her family, who for many years had seen her only a few times. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time visiting with her and comparing memories.
Sister Alexis’ expertise was then sought by the Health Agency Council, and she moved to Milwaukee, where she organized and directed a program for health education and wellness for the School Sisters of St. Francis, and served on the governing boards of the community’s health institutions.
In 1983, Sister Alexis was offered a unique opportunity for a “year off” for an intercultural experience in Germany, where she spent time doing volunteer home nursing in the town of Weinhein, West Germany. While living with the sisters in Germany, she found the year in this foreign country an extremely enriching and valuable experience, which she would treasure forever.
Sister Alexis was asked in 1993 to begin a new challenging position as a nurse advocate for the sisters, and found great satisfaction in this ministry as a health advocate. She found it very enjoyable, as it allowed her to apply many of the practices she learned in her past experiences. She was able to be a combination of nurse, patient escort, consultant with sisters, nurses, and physicians, and do follow-up care for the sisters.
She often said, “Now I realized that nursing is not merely doing things for others, but more so being with them and supporting them with prayer and presence.
In 2006, Sister Alexis transitioned into retirement and volunteer work, and moved into St. Joseph Convent in Campbellsport. She spent her final years at the Sacred Heart Convent in Milwaukee, where she continued to be filled with love and gratitude.
Sister Alexis was laid to rest in the Sisters’ Cemetery in Campbellsport, WI. A celebration of life took place with a Mass of Christian burial at the Motherhouse Chapel. Due to the pandemic, it was a private celebration. The archived mass may be viewed at https://video.ibm.com/channel/school-sisters-of-st-francis.