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Bernadette Ries

Sister Bernadette Ries, OP

Obituary - Sister Bernadette Ries, OP

Sister Bernadette Ries, OP, died April 20 at St. Dominic Villa in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. The funeral Mass was held at the Dominican motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, on April 29, followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery in Spokane, Washington.

Sister Bernadette was born Aug. 29, 1938, in Conrad, Montana, the daughter of Alfred and Mary (DeBoo) Ries. Her parents and two brothers, Frank Ries and Stephen Ries, preceded her in death. She is survived by three sisters, Marian Lightner, Emma Jean Freeman, and Veronica Franey;  a brother, John Ries; nieces; nephews; and her Dominican Sisters with whom she shared 63 years of religious life. 

Ries was a member of the Dominican Sisters of Speyer, Germany, at Kettle Falls, Washington., which became the Dominicans of Spokane in 1986 and merged with the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in 1995. Sister Bernadette made her first profession on Aug. 17, 1957, and her perpetual profession on Aug. 22, 1961. She ministered in health care for 27 years and served her congregation in leadership and administration positions for 10 years, and in ministries supporting families for 11 years. Sister Bernadette was a groundbreaker, recognizing the needs of the people with whom she ministered, the congregation, and in health care, and then moving ahead to meet those needs. She was dedicated to the Dominican charism. She served in Washington, Illinois, and Minnesota.

In the Diocese of Spokane, Sister Bernadette ministered at Mt. Carmel Hospital, Colville, as an x-ray technician, 1960-1966, and at Holy Family Hospital, Spokane, as an x-ray technician, 1966-1969; as computer coordinator and system analyst, 1971-1972; and personnel director, 1973-1976. Sister Bernadette served the Dominican Sisters as vocation director, 1972-1973, and corporate manager for hospitals, 1976-1978. She ministered in Spokane as president of Dominican Health Services, 1979-1985; director and foundress of Miryam’s House, 1986-1995; as a member of the leadership team for the Dominican Sisters of Spokane, 1990-1995; prioress of the Dominican Center, 2006-2008; and grief counselor with Catholic Cemeteries of Spokane, 2009-2011. 

Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or at online. 

Repeat broadcasts of the wake and funeral for Sister Bernadette are available online at Click on the “on demand” tab.