Sister Elizabeth Derga, RSM
Sister Elizabeth Derga, RSM, 87, passed away on Sept. 18, 2019, at Hallmar Care Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a brief illness. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at Sacred Heart Chapel by the Rev. Jim Brokman. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Sacred Heart Chapel, with a wake service at 6:30 p.m. Arrangements are with Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services.
Sister Elizabeth was born Oct. 20, 1931,
in Cascade, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Merfeld) Derga. She attended Olin Public Elementary in Olin, Iowa, and graduated from Mount Mercy Academy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1949. She entered the Cedar Rapids Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in 1949.
Sister Elizabeth received certificates in education from the State of Iowa in 1955 and 1960. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1960, and a M.A. in administration from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 1984. Sister Elizabeth's first ministry was teaching. From 1952 to 1965, she taught in the following parochial schools: St. Nicholas School in Waterloo, Iowa, St. Matthew's School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, St. Cecilia's School in Ames, Iowa, All Saints School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and St. Benedict's School in Decorah, Iowa.
She was a principal at St. Joseph's School in Marion, Iowa, from 1965 to 1971; principal at St. Matthew's School in Kalispell, Mont., from 1971 to 1973; principal at Immaculate Conception School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1973 to 1977; teacher at St. Matthew School, Kalispell, Mont., from 1977 to 1979; and was a principal at St. John's School in Waterloo, Iowa, and St. Nicholas School in Evansdale, Iowa, from 1979 to 1981. She returned to Kalispell, Mont., as a principal from 1981 to 1988, and then became the principal at Sacred Heart School, Oelwein, Iowa, from 1988 to 1990. Her last teaching ministry was at Sacred Heart School in Maquoketa, Iowa, from 1990 to 1996. In 1996 to 1998, Sister Elizabeth was a part-time cook at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center and assistant administrator of the motherhouse. She was a manager at the Catholic Worker House from 1998 to 1999.
Upon her retirement in 1999, Sister Elizabeth became a volunteer at Sacred Heart Convent as a librarian and receptionist at the switchboard. Sister Elizabeth was known for her love of cooking and card playing. Sister Elizabeth was a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy for 70 years.
In addition to the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Elizabeth is survived by sibling, Florence Renner, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Elizabeth; siblings, Sister Mary Leonice Derga, RSM, Edna Derga, Francis (Malinda) Derga, Herbert (Valda) Derga and Don Derga; brother-in-law, William Renner; and niece, Nancy Derga Hutcheson.
Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy at 1125 Prairie Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.