Sr. Ursula Leibold died on Easter Monday, April 13, 2020. She was 96 years old, and had dedicated 76 years to religious life as an Ursuline Sister. We remember Sr. Ursula with loving gratitude, as she has now entered into eternal life. May she rest in peace with our loving God.
Sr. Ursula was born in Bridgeport, CT on April 6, 1924 to William and Louise Leibold, the youngest of their three daughters. Her mother died two days after giving birth to her, and she was raised by her aunt and uncle, Sophie and Morris Quinlan. From a young age, she had a strong calling to religious life, explained her niece, Eloise Forstbauer. Growing up, her name was Mabel, but she was given the name Ursula when she became an Ursuline Sister, a name she loved and felt very honored to have. “She lived a beautiful life. She was very happy with her life. She made a big difference in people’s lives,” said Eloise, adding, “She always felt that she had to be good for everybody. She really just loved what she did.”
As a young teacher, Sr. Ursula was gifted with teaching young children, and was remembered by her many former 1st and 2nd grade students for her kindness, her encouraging smile, and her happy spirit. While teaching 1st and 2nd grades at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park, NY in the late 1940s and 1950s, she taught many children to read, and prepared many children to make the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. Her former students describe her as a sweet, patient, and fun teacher who would jump rope with them at recess, teach them songs, and always offer an encouraging smile.
Sr. Ursula received an outpouring of adoring comments from former students and friends, on a Facebook post celebrating her 96th birthday on April 6, 2020, just a week before her passing. “She loved little children. It’s amazing to hear how her former students remembered her being their first-grade teacher, and how she was always forgiving, she wasn’t strict, and she was always encouraging,” said Eloise. “They really remember her jumping rope with them, and teaching them songs. And she never criticized their drawings. She always praised them. She was very intuitive when it came to little children.”
A graduate of John Adams High School in Ozone Park, NY, Sr. Ursula earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Manhattan College and a Masters degree from Fairfield University after becoming an Ursuline Sister. In addition to teaching at Nativity BVM, Sr. Ursula also taught at St. Thomas the Apostle, West Harford, CT for a year, and then ministered in Administrative Hospitality at St. Ursula Convent from 1962 to1966. She was then a teacher at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Stamford, CT from 1966 to 1989. She was Coordinator for Retired and Infirm Sisters at St. Ursula Center, Blue Point, NY, from 1989 until retirement. “She loved to sing, and she loved to dance. She played the piano,” recalled Eloise, adding, “She loved taking care of people.” She also volunteered with the East End Farmers in Patchogue, NY. She helped migrant farmers with medical appointments, and collected donations of clothes, food, and school supplies for the families and their children. In her retirement years, Sr. Ursula resided at St. Ursula Center in Blue Point, NY, and then more recently at Maria Regina Residence in Brentwood, NY.
Sr. Ursula is survived by her nieces, Eloise Forstbauer, Susan Martin, Phyllis Shore, Christine Vincent, and Marilyn Beiswanger. She is predeceased by her sisters, Elizabeth Hagner, Grace Beiswanger, her parents, William and Louise Leibold, and her aunt and uncle, Sophie and Morris Quinlan. A memorial service for Sr. Ursula will be planned for a later date.