Sister Nadine Luebbert of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word was quick to remind people that her name meant “hope” in Russian.
“Indeed, she was a most hopeful, upbeat person, always saying, ‘All will be well, my dear,’” recalled Incarnate Word Sister Margaret “Peggy” Bonnot. “And she loved the color green — also saying that it was a color of hope.”
Sr. Nadine, 91 — who had served on the faculties of Mary Immaculate School in Kirksville and Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City and as principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Taos — died on Dec. 8, 2020.
She was living in retirement at The Village at Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas.
She was born on Nov. 20, 1929, in Brinktown, a daughter of Phil and Catherine (Brandel) Luebbert.
The family later moved to Jefferson City, where she attended Immaculate Conception School.
After graduating from St. Peter High School in 1947, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
She professed first vows in 1950 and perpetual vows in 1955.
Sr. Nadine served as a Catholic school teacher in Jefferson City, Kirksville, Old Mines and St. Louis, Missouri; and in Dallas, El Paso and Pampa, Texas.
Teaching in Jefferson City from 1987-91, she was one of 266 Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word who have served at Immaculate Conception Parish and School since 1914.
She spent 22 years in administration, including as principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Taos; St. Dismas School in Florissant; St. Frances of Rome School in Cicero, Illinois; and as administrator of Dunne Memorial Home for Boys in Dallas, Texas.
She held a bachelor’s degree in education from Fontbonne College in St. Louis; a master’s degree from the University of Missouri–St. Louis; and a master’s degree in religious studies from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.
A second career brought her back to St. Louis in 1991, where she served as a chaplain at Southgate Care Center.
In 1996, she joined the retirement community at The Village at Incarnate Word, San Antonio.
She served as a volunteer in the gift shop and crafted many beautiful items to sell there. Her computer-crafted greeting cards were in constant demand.
“Best poker face”
Sr. Peggy, a Jefferson City native who also graduated from I.C. School, noted that Sr. Nadine had a special interest in the history and charism of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
She researched the archives and writings of the congregation’s founders and early mothers.
Sr. Nadine served for many years on the congregation’s Heritage and Charism Committee and was the author of Tidbits, a collection of stories that she gleaned from the writings of the early sisters.
“She emphasized in her writings what Mother St. Pierre repeatedly mentioned in her letters — that a ‘spirit of prayer and charity’ must be always present in the congregation,” said Sr. Peggy.
Sr. Nadine also organized groups to play cards, especially poker, and according to Sr. Peggy “had the best poker face of all!”
Incarnate Word Sister Cathy Vetter, also a Jefferson City native and I.C. graduate, said Sr. Nadine was gracious and generous and kept other people in mind right up to the day before she died.
“Her death was sudden and even at her age a surprise to us all,” said Sr. Cathy. “She is very much missed.”
She remembers Sr. Nadine as always being positive and supportive.
“Her smile was a delight, and she had special ways of letting each person know how special they are,” said Sr. Cathy. “Her faith was strong and almost matter-of-fact: ‘God is good and wonderful and loves us, so there is nothing to worry about.’”
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated privately at The Village at Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
Burial was in the convent cemetery.
Preceding Sr. Nadine in death were her parents; a sister, Bee Luebbert Rackers; and her brothers, Don, Eddie, Sam and Phil.
Surviving are her sisters-in law, Elaine, Darla, and Angie Luebbert and Jane Szabados; several nieces and nephews; and her fellow Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Condolences may be sent to the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, 4503 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209.