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"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

Sister Paula Howard was born on May 14, 1949 to James and Dorothy Howard. James Howard III, an undertaker by profession, was born in Plateman, Louisiana and later moved to Chicago, Illinois. His wife, Dorothy Ann Carter was born in East Chicago, Indiana. The couple had seven children, three girls and four boys. Paula was the first born followed quickly by her twin sister, Pauline.

On April 9, 1966, at the age of 17, Paula was baptized into the Catholic faith at Holy Angels church in Chicago. A few months later, in November, Paula received the sacrament of Confirmation. Two years after making this major decision, Paula made another life-changing decision when she joined the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago on August 25, 1968. At that time the community’s title was Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kunegunda. Paula chose this community because she thought Kunegunda was an African saint. She later learned that Kunegunda was a Hungarian woman who became the Queen of Poland and later a Franciscan Poor Clare.

Paula spent her year of postulancy at St. Joseph Home as a nurse aide. She entered novitiate on August 11, 1969 and resided at Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, IL. Upon entering novitiate, Paula retained her birth name and became known as Sister Paula Frances.

After making First Profession on August 8, 1971, Paula was missioned at St. John Regional Medical Center in Huron, South Dakota and served as a physical therapy aide. In 1974 - 1975, Sister Paula attended occupational therapy classes at St. Mary Junior College in Minneapolis, Minnesota obtaining an Associate Degree in Applied Science.

In 1982 Sister Paula obtained a Bachelor Degree of Social Work from Madonna College in Livonia, Michigan and in 1989 Sister graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with a Masters in Social Work. Sister also achieved the designation of Fellow from the American Psychotherapy Association.

From 1989 through 1993, Sister served as a social worker at St. Anthony Medical Center and from 1993 to 1996 at Caritas Adult Day Care. Both facilities are located in Crown Point, Indiana. Sister’s ministry changed in 1996 when she joined the staff at St. Jude House, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, as Director of Sexual Assault Services. Sister Paula gravitated toward this particular facet of counseling because as Sister stated in an article in the Post Tribune "I want people to be able to look at their own sexuality in a positive way and to appreciate it. People feel comfortable with me because I take a compassionate approach to helping them go through the stages necessary to heal - anger, rage, body image and nurturing of self." Sister Paula was also quoted as saying that "the most difficult aspect of the job was making clients realize they are good people, ...they don’t have to keep their secret any longer - that’s why I’m here."

In 1999 Sister Paula served at St. James Manor and Villas in Crete Illinois as the Director of Mission Integration. Sister was there for five years before she began her service of counseling and providing educational workshops for the staff at the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation Home Office in Homewood, Illinois.

Sister Paula worked with the employees at St. Anthony Village starting in 2011 until her heath dictated that on February 1, 2016 she become a resident of St. Anthony Village Assisted Living.

Sister said her favorite hero was St. Francis of Assisi because his whole life was focused on Jesus. Her favorite author was Henri Nouwen. The advice she liked to give was "Always look at the world in a positive way, even when things are bad. When you get up in the morning, thank God for another day."

Just a few months short of 50 years of religious life and nine days before her 69th birthday, Sister Paula Frances died peacefully at St. Anthony Home at 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, May 5, 2018, to be with Jesus whom she loved and served with all her heart.