Sister Stella Catherine Lotz, a faithful Sister of Saint Joseph for sixty-seven years, died on February 9, 2021 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania. A private service was held at Saint Joseph Villa on February 16. Father Terry Odien offered the homily.
Stella was the daughter of Stella and Edward Lotz. She attended Saint David Grade School in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania and graduated from Little Flower High School in Philadelphia in 1949. For several years after graduation from high school Stella considered a career in opera and thought about studying in Europe. However her prayer and discernment led her on a different path and at the age of twenty-four she entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph. She wrote, “After much prayer I decided to apply to the Sisters of Saint Joseph. . . I found these women to be fine educators and deeply prayerful.”
Upon completing the novitiate, Stella received the religious habit of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and was known by the religious name Sister Irma Teresa. She began her first teaching assignment at Corpus Christi School in Philadelphia where she also assisted with music. For the next twelve years Sister taught in elementary and secondary schools in the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Newark and the Diocese of Harrisburg.
From 1971–2001 Sister Stella ministered in several varied administrative positions: Directress of Music in Elementary Schools, Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Camden. She is remembered as “a woman of profound faith and deep prayer,” and a “dynamo” who as principal demonstrated energy and the ability to motivate everyone: students, parents, teachers.
In 1994 Sister Stella was diagnosed with a rare blood disease that required a two and a half hour medical treatment every other week. At that time she was advised that her life expectancy would be ten more years. She continued her ministry in the Camden Diocese and valiantly kept up with her medical treatment until two months before she died. She came to live at Saint Joseph Villa in 2018.
Sister Stella’s message to us is: “Pray in the deep recesses of your being where only God, the Author of your being can go. Pray there—God will lead you and send you guidance.”
We give thanks for the years Stella lived among us and for the many lives she touched. We know she now enjoys the fullness of life with her God and the heavenly choir. We count on her prayer for us.