Sister Deborah Walter, CSA

Sister Deborah Walter, CSA, died peacefully June 6, 2022, at Nazareth Center in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Deborah was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 30, 1949, the daughter of Frederick H. Walter and Florence Hanley Walter. She moved with her family to Evanston, Illinois, where she attended St. Nicholas Grade School, staffed by the Sisters of St. Agnes.  After her 8th grade graduation, Deborah, feeling called to learn more about religious life, chose to enroll in the high school program sponsored by the sisters (Aspirancy) and attended St. Mary’s Springs Academy, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, graduating in 1967.  In September of 1967, Deborah entered St. Agnes Convent. She made her first profession of vows in the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes on August 15, 1970, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Sister Deborah earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Marian College, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1971, and an M. Ed. in Counseling and Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, in 1983.  Her commitment to the mission of the Sisters of St. Agnes and her academic and professional studies guided her as an educator, counselor, pastoral minister, diocesan consultant, and executive leader throughout her fifty-two years as a vowed woman religious.

Her life of ministry began as a primary teacher in parish schools in Crown Point, Indiana, Bronx, New York, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. She decided to leave classroom teaching because she felt she could be of greater help to children by becoming a school counselor. Thus, she became a pastoral minister at St. Joseph’s Parish, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and at St. Joseph’s Parish in Wilmette, Illinois, serving both as a school and family counselor. She soon extended her counseling ministry to include individual adults and married couples.  In 1988, Sister joined the faculty of Marian College of Fond du Lac working as a counselor in the Student Life Program. From 1993 – 2009, Sister Deborah served her CSA community as an elected General Councilor for eight years; Vocation Director; member of the Congregation’s formation team; and as the Director of Development.   

Sister Deborah was actively involved in the Fond du Lac community, serving as Interim Director for Bethany House and as Director and Fundraiser for SHARDS, an ecumenical Christian organization serving the uninsured and underinsured in Fond du Lac County and the surrounding area. She was also a board member for several Fond du Lac service organizations and foundations.

One of Sister Deborah’s most treasured accomplishments was the foundation of the Working Families Grant at Marian University for low-income single parents struggling to support their families while attaining a bachelor’s degree. With Sister Deborah’s urging, the support of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, and an anonymous donor, students accepted into the program receive support services and tuition, rent, childcare, and food assistance.

Sister Deborah was working as a counselor for students in the Working Families Grant Program when serious health issues caused her to resign her position in May of 2022 and seek care at Nazareth Court and Center until the time of her death.  

Preceding her in death were her parents; two brothers, John (infant) and Michael; an infant sister, Joe Ellen; and her sister-in-law, Carol Grodzicki Walter.

Sister is survived by her niece, Raegan E. Walter, many life-long friends, and the Sisters of St. Agnes, with whom she lived, prayed, and ministered.

Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held on Monday, June 27, 2022, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at Nazareth Court and Center, 375 Gillett Street, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

A Prayer Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Nazareth Center Chapel. Please check in for the Visitation and Prayer Service at the 375 Gillett Street entrance only.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for Sister Deborah at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2022, at St. Francis Home Chapel, 33 Everett Street, Fond du Lac, WI, with Tom Zelinski, O.F.M. Cap., presiding. Burial of cremains will follow at St. Joseph Springs Cemetery, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Memorials may be directed to the CSA Mission Advancement Office, 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937.

The Sisters of St. Agnes are grateful to the nurses and staff of Nazareth Court and Center and Hospice Hope for their care of Sister Deborah.

Zacherl Funeral Home is serving the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.