Rest in Peace, Sister Mary Eleanor Castle RSM

Shackelford native, 87, was teacher, caregiver, Sister of Mercy for 68 years


Shackelford native Sister Mary Eleanor Castle, 87, of the Sisters of Mercy, a former Catholic school principal in Marshall and Glasgow, died on July 22 at Mercy Villa in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 26 in St. Peter Church in Marshall.

Burial was in Mount St. Mary Cemetery in Shackelford.

Sr. Eleanor was born on April 1, 1932, in the Saline County town of Shackelford, a daughter of William and Winnie (Jacoby) Castle.

After graduating from Mercy High School in Marshall, she entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1950, at Mount Loretto in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

She spent most of her ministry in education, primarily in Missouri.

Some of her students may remember her as Sister Mary Wiletta.

She served as principal of St. Mary School in Glasgow and as a teacher and principal at St. Peter School in Marshall.

She also taught at Catholic schools in Blue Springs and Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Denver, Colorado; and Omaha, Nebraska.

And also served as principal of Catholic schools in Cape Girardeau and Joplin.

“Sr. Eleanor loved teaching primary grades as well as doing remedial reading with any student who needed more help,” said longtime friend Sister Eva Fritz. “She was loved by her students and respected by her peers in the classroom.”

Former student Anne Long said Sr. Eleanor had been a touchstone in her life.

“Sr. Eleanor was my second- and third-grade teacher at Presentation of Our Lady in Denver, Colorado,” said Ms. Long. “She is still, after all these years, my favorite teacher. She was dedicated to teaching, and I am all the better for having been one of her students.”

 Shelly Borges, a member of St. Pius X parish in Moberly, said she loved having Sr. Eleanor as a teacher and principal at St. Mary School in Glasgow. 

“She was wonderful and I still remember many of the things she taught me inside and outside the classroom," she stated. "Heaven gained an angel.”

As a new teacher, Sister Jeanine Salak of the Sisters of Mercy had the benefit of learning from Sr. Eleanor.

“Sr. Eleanor was so welcoming to me when I went to Holy Trinity School in Kansas City,” she said. “She definitely ‘showed me the ropes!’”

After teaching for 39 years, Sr. Eleanor ministered as a caregiver for the elderly for seven years at CSJ Home Care in Kansas City.

“She was a caregiver by nature, and many people have benefited from her loving presence, no matter where you were,” said Sister Ann Landers of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Sr. Eleanor earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the College of Saint Mary in Omaha and a Master of Arts degree in administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Upon celebrating her 60th anniversary in religious life, she said, “God has gifted me in many ways. For all of this, I am and shall be forever grateful.”

Preceding her in death were her parents; three brothers, Glenn Castle, Leo Castle and William Castle Jr.; and two sisters, Patricia Campbell and Jean Burnside.

Surviving are a sister, Sara Morris; a brother, Bill Castle; many nieces and nephews, and her fellow Sisters of Mercy.