The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Sister of Mercy raised three children outside religious life

Published: October 4, 2018   

Sister Bernardine Konkler-Redwine, RSM, a teacher for many years who felt a special calling to help difficult students, died Sept. 17 at the McAuley Convent and Retirement Residence in Barling. She was 90.

She and her twin sister Bernadette were born Feb. 11, 1928, to Jessie A. Alvey and Grover C. Konkler, the last of six children in Mena. She attended St. Joseph Academy, led by the Sisters of Mercy, and graduated from Mena High School in 1946. After graduation, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Webster Groves, Mo. She received the name Mary Janet on March 12, 1947, and professed final vows five years later. She taught in Catholic schools in El Dorado, Fort Smith, Little Rock and North Little Rock while completing college degrees in education and art.

Her funeral home obituary stated she had “a special place in her heart for the troubled or difficult students.  She tried not to allow her preferences to show, but she gave them a little extra help and watched their progress with special interest.”

In 1969, she was granted permission to care for her elderly mother. In 1973, she received a dispensation from her religious vows and married Manuel Redwine. They raised his three children in Coos Bay, Ore. After her husband’s death, she returned to the Mercy Center in St. Louis in 1994 and accepted a second novitiate experience. She professed final vows on Aug. 8, 1998, with the name Sister Mary Bernardine. She taught art, calligraphy and Spanish at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, the obituary stated.

Known as Sister Bernie in her later years, she moved to Catherine McAuley Convent in Barling and continued to paint and enjoy visitors.

She is survived by one stepdaughter, Melodi Elaine Douglas.

A rosary was held Sept. 20 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at McAuley Convent in Barling.

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