Cover photo for Sister Carol Virnig's Obituary
1944 Sister Carol 2024

Sister Carol Virnig

December 16, 1944 — April 20, 2024

Little Falls

Little Falls, Minnesota............Sister Carol Virnig, 79, died on April 20, 2024, at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls, Minn.

Sister Carol Virnig was born on December 16, 1944, in Little Falls, Minn. She was the third of seven children born to the late Paul and Lucy (Pauser) Virnig. She was accepted as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, Minnesota, on July 31, 1964. She made her first profession of vows on June 13, 1966, and final vows on June 13, 1969. She would have celebrated 60 years as a Franciscan Sister in August.

She grew up on a farm near Little Falls and enjoyed the activities of farm life and nature around her. She particularly liked berry-picking, fishing, and winter sports. Many of these continued to be a part of her life as she and her siblings carried on these traditions.

Sister Carol attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Little Falls. Her first grade was in the Antler Hotel where the priest’s house and convent stand today. The hotel was used as a school until the present school building was completed. In second grade she attended the new school and was happy to have been chosen to hold the school flag for the blessing and dedication of the school.  

She graduated from St. Francis High School in 1963. As a junior, she began to work weekends and summers at St. Otto’s Home as a nursing assistant. Sister Ramona Johnson, a cousin, was the administrator and inspired Carol with the mission slogan, “To Peru in ’62!” that the Franciscan Sisters coined about a dream of serving in South America by 1962.  

Sister Carol earned a licensed practical nurse diploma from St. Mary’s Hospital, Rochester, a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in pastoral administration/leadership from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Tex.

She ministered as a nurse aide, licensed practical nurse, pastoral minister, pastoral assistant, health and Hispanic minister and co-pastor. Over the years, she served in Yunguyo, Peru; Coroico, Bolivia; Chimayo, N. Mex.; Little Falls, Sauk Centre, Onamia, St. Paul and Waite Park, Minn. Ministering as nurse and pastoral worker, she became keenly aware of the reality of poverty, injustices and oppression.  

Shortly after taking her final vows, she served the Franciscan Sisters as the director of retirement and rehabilitation and developed a comprehensive personal enrichment program for the sisters. In later years, she offered her services as vocation director.

She returned to the States in 2002 and began her work as the Hispanic and health minister of the St. Cloud/Waite Park areas. This ministry extended to the 12 parishes of the St. Cloud area, where her top priority was the formation of lay leadership.   

Sister Carol’s energetic, positive, loving approach and her enthusiasm for life endeared her to others. She appreciated the deep faith of the poor, joy in simple living and felt a deep solidarity as a religious sister with the poor and oppressed of the world. She moved to Little Falls in 2022 and ministered at St. Francis Convent while continuing contacts within the diocese.  

Sister Carol was preceded in death by her parents, sister Geraldine Klimek, sister-in-law Lottie Virnig, brother-in-law Robert Iten. Survivors include siblings DuWayne, Little Falls; Roger (Judy), Little Falls; Nan Iten, Clear Lake; Patricia (Richard) Schilling, Fort Ripley; Paul (Cheryl), Brainerd; nieces and nephews and her Franciscan Community.

Visitation will be held at St. Francis Convent on Thursday, April 25, beginning at 4 p.m. with a Franciscan wake service at 7 p.m. On Friday, April 26, visitation will be held from 9-11 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial. 

Donations to Franciscan Sisters ministries preferred.


Emblom Brenny Funeral Service is Cherishing the Memory and Celebrating the Life of Sister Carol.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sister Carol Virnig, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, April 25, 2024

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Prayer Service

Thursday, April 25, 2024

7:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Visitation

Friday, April 26, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Mass

Friday, April 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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