Remembrance of the Life of Rose Marie Nielsen CoL
Rose Marie Stevens Nielsen was the daughter of Mary Nell Culp Stevens and Barnabas Ventress Stevens Jr. In 1957, Rose Marie was received into Loretto as Sister Rose Timothy. She made final vows in in 1964, was dispensed in 1973 and became a Loretto co-member in 1978. Both Rose Marie and her mother were Loretto co-members.
Rose Marie went to school in Memphis, Tenn., and also Mobile, Ala. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Webster College (now University) in 1961 and a master’s from Vanderbilt in 1971. From 1961 to 1973, she taught elementary grades in Illinois, Colorado and Missouri. In 1973 Rose Marie married Walter Nielsen. They adopted three children and had several foster children.
Rose Marie and Walt moved to California where he worked in construction and she served on boards as board member and executive director for adoption agencies. After 20 years, she was very happy to move back to Tennessee where the Nielsens developed a 100-acre farm in Selmer. They had many animals for which they held great affection. She continued social service work and also took and taught piano lessons.
In her autobiography, Rose Marie wrote, “My connection with the Loretto Community taught me and supported me in remembering the place of compassion, peace and mercy in all my work.” Further she said that she “became more aware of the beauty of fragile earth. … I read increasingly about ecology and a sustainable way of living. ”
Rose Marie died Aug. 31 in senior housing in Memphis, Tenn., at age 83 in the 43rd year of her Loretto co-membership.