Rachel Auringer passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours on Saturday, June 8, 2013. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Harold and Anna Auringer, her two older sisters Maryann Gallino of Phoenix, Arizona, Carol Flood of St. Louis and her much beloved God daughter Nancy Skinner. She is survived by her brother, Charles Auringer and his wife Anna and many nieces and nephews. She leaves behind a life filled with friends who were forever change by having known her.
Rachel was born in Kirkwood, Missouri the third of four children. Her school from kindergarten through high school was overseen by the Ursuline Nuns. She was popular girl, well-liked by the other students and respected for an intellect and her keen sense of justice which would follow her throughout her life.
After high school she attended Webster College for a year. She had, since childhood, felt that God had a special mission for her. At the end of the first year in college she entered the Ursuline Novitiate in Festus, Missouri. Upon completion of her vows she was sent to the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York and received her undergraduate degree.
She taught elementary school for several years at Ursuline schools in the Missouri and Illinois area. After several years she was transferred to Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Texas. Three months later she was sent to Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, Texas. After a three year stay in San Antonio she was sent to an Ursuline High School in Jennings, Missouri. At the end of her stay in Jennings, she was once again assigned to Ursuline Academy in Dallas, this time as principal of the lower school. This would begin a life long association with people in Dallas that lasted until her death.
After a four year stay in Dallas, she took a sabbatical and spent a year in Rome, Italy where she worked among the poor, ministering to the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. On return to the states she was sent to the Ursuline School in Galveston, Texas where she remained for two years.
She requested and received a year’s leave to go to Dallas and help take care of her God daughter. She was then once more assigned to Ursuline in Dallas as principal of the high school. She remained for three years and due to a falling out with the superior resigned and moved into her own apartment. She taught in the Dallas Public Schools for two years. At the end of the second year she was awarded the prestigious Golden Apple Award as “Teacher of the Year”. She was chosen over the fifty thousand teachers employed in the Dallas schools.
She was recruited by St. Mark’s School of Texas, a prestigious academic school for boys 1st through 12th grade. She took over as head of the lower school and remained for nine years. St. Mark’s and the boys were one of her long abiding loves.
Having accomplished all she felt she could at St. Mark’s, she took the job as principal of Sacred Heart School in Morrilton, Arkansas, where she remained for ten years. Again, feeling that her task was complete, she resigned. The Ursuline Order gave her an assignment to care for elderly nuns in Alton, Illinois. However, Rachel, in her heart felt God was calling her in another direction. Upon refusing to go to Alton, the Ursuline’s had her removed from the order.
She attained the principalship at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in North Little Rock, Arkansas. She remained there for five years. Once again feeling that God was calling her, she assumed the principalship at Holy Cross School in Cuba, Missouri, where she remained for four years. Now in her 70’s she decided it was time to retire. However, during the summer she asked to be allowed to volunteer as a full time teacher at St. Anthony’s School in Sullivan. She stayed there for five years. She finished the year and on the last day of class, after the students had left, she asked to be taken to the hospital. She remained at St. John Mercy in Washington for a week. She slipped into a coma and as per her wishes, no extraordinary means where used to prolong her life. She died as home quietly and peacefully, slipping gently into the arms of God.
Rachel was an adventurous, fun loving spirit whose greatest joy was camping and backpacking in the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming in the company of a close friend. They would frequently remain in the Tetons for four to six weeks at times. She once encountered two bear cubs on a trail. Fascinated, she didn’t want to leave. She had to be drug down the mountain by her friend to get her away from the momma bear. Another time three moose were frightened by a photographer and the came running down the path towards Rachel, who turned and rain in front of them. Her friend drug her into some willow bushes to escape her be being trampled.
Her spirituality deepened in the mountains and it was as if she could hear the voice of God speaking to her heart. She retained a deep love of the mountains and the splendor of God’s creation that she had experienced. In many presentations she gave over the years, she frequently included pictures of the mountains and music by John Denver.
It was in Cuba that she found her nitch. This was home to her. She met and remained friends with many of the people. It is, as if, God had let her know that this was her final home. She was happy, active and involved in several volunteer organizations.
Rachel changed the lives of everyone she met. Meeting her hade you want to become a better person. She loved children and thousands have passed through her caring hands. Her sense of justice, of equality has influenced many lives. But it was the children of Holy Cross and St. Anthony’s that seemed to have a special place in her heart.
She’s not gone; she will live one in all the children that passed through her care and moved on to become better people. She was known by many names: Nancy, Sister, Rachel, Mary Rachel, Nana and Mother, but only one name stand out, and that is the name - Love.
A memorial mass will be held 10 AM Monday, September 2, 2013 at the Holy Cross Catholic Church of Cuba with Father William Korte as celebrant.
The Mizell Funeral Home is honored to be serving Miss Rachel's family.