By Sister Mary Thill, OSF
Sister M. Thomas More Ruffing died peacefully at Rosary Care Center in Sylvania, Ohio on August 1, 2023 after a brief illness. The daughter of Fred and Veronica Ruffing, she came to Sylvania from St. Casimir Parish in Wells, MN in 1949 to become a Sister of St. Francis in Sylvania, Ohio. She made her first profession of religious vows in 1951 and her final vows in 1954.
Most of Sister Thomas More’s 72 years in religious life were devoted to Catholic education at various levels. She taught in elementary schools in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio; taught high school Latin and served as a librarian at Central Catholic High School in Toledo later becoming Head Librarian at Lourdes University for 28 years. Upon retirement she assisted in the Sister’s Communication Office, did resident services at Rosary Care Center and was the Media Specialist as an Assistant Archivist for the Sisters for 17 years. In 2021, realizing that she needed help with some of her daily activities, she retired to Rosary Care Center while still working in Archives in order to finish her media projects, keep up with her internet interests and enjoy the frequent coffee and donut gatherings there.
A few of her highlights in religious life have been the many opportunities for travel in the U.S. and abroad; playing the pipe organ in the Pantheon (now a Catholic Church) in Rome while the tour group joined her in singing the Lourdes Hymn (Immaculate Mary); and a memorable celebration acknowledging her 50 years of faithful service as an organist at the Motherhouse in Sylvania.
In her later years, Sister Thomas More reflected on her long life and felt that she really accomplished all that she and God wanted her to do and even more that she could ever have imagined. A few days before her death, when she had to make a difficult health care decision, Sister again showed her deep spiritual wisdom when she said, “I’m 95. What more is there for me to do? I’ve done everything God has asked of me throughout my life. I’m ready for heaven.” And, indeed, she was ready on August 1, 2023.
Sister Thomas More is survived by her sister-in-law Linda Ruffing and many nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed by her Sisters in religion, her family, friends and caregivers. A Welcoming Service for Sister Thomas More will be at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 4, 2023 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel. The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 5, 2023 in the Chapel. (A link for live streaming of the Mass can be found at www.sistersosf.org).
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, Ohio. Arrangements made by Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home, Toledo, Ohio.