Sister Victoria E. Kessler, SSND
June 13, 1932 – Oct. 19, 2020
Born June 13, 1932, Victoria was the youngest child in a family of eight children. Her parents, Michael and Victoria Ehling Kessler, were both natives of Germany. The Kessler family, including Vicky, her two sisters and five brothers, lived in Philadelphia, Pa., where Vicky began first grade at St. Boniface School.
Vicky was first introduced to the School Sisters of Notre Dame at St. Boniface. She made her first Holy Communion at St. Boniface Church as a first grader and was confirmed a year later in spring, 1939. Vicky graduated from St. Boniface School on June 7, 1947.
John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School was Vicky’s high school choice, and it was there that she “became interested in the life of a religious.” Though the school was staffed by Sisters of different religious orders, Vicky said, “My interest was stimulated by the fact that I had been closely associated with the School Sisters of Notre Dame.”
Throughout her two-year employment at an insurance company after high school graduation, Vicky’s desire to enter religious life continued to grow. She wanted to “do the Will of God in helping to bring others closer to Him.” Vicky received the candidate’s bonnet on Aug. 28, 1953 at St. Boniface Church.
During the candidature, Vicky studied at the Notre Dame Teachers Training School. On July 12, 1954, she was received into the novitiate and was given the name Sister Mary Andrew Bobola. She professed her first vows on July 30, 1955.
Vicky graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (now Notre Dame of Maryland University) in 1964. She earned a Master of Education in Reading from Loyola College (now University) in 1972.
Teaching in primary grades, most often first grade, Vicky taught in parochial schools in Maryland, New Jersey and Florida. In 1983, she began teaching at public schools, notably at Pinecrest Elementary School in Immokalee, Fla. where she remained for almost 15 years.
After attending a renewal program at St. Stephen Priory in Dover, Mass., Vicky became a Pastoral Associate with Our Lady of the Angels Catholic parish at the Charlestown Retirement Community in Baltimore. She retired to prayer and presence at Villa Assumpta in 2010. Vicky prayed daily to the Blessed Mother for perseverance. She desired to become a true and loving daughter of Notre Dame.
Vicky was an enthusiastic person who was interested in people and enjoyed interacting with them. She was a hard worker, a devoted friend and a woman of great heart. Vicky prayed for and gave generously to the missions. When a sister celebrated a birthday, she could rely on receiving a card from Vicky.
Sister Vicky died at Maria Health Care Center on Oct. 19, 2020. Burial took place on Oct. 23, 2020 at Villa Maria Cemetery, Glen Arm, Md. A Memorial Mass to celebrate the life of Sister Vicky will take place at a later time. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
- Jeanne Hildenbrand SSND