ST. LOUIS – Sister Caroleen Hensgen, a School Sister of Notre Dame, died Tuesday, Oct. 15 at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Miss., from cancer. She was 98 and an educator for 60 years as a teacher, administrator and superintendent of a school system. She served as the superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Dallas from 1967-91. She was the first woman to be appointed superintendent of schools for a Catholic diocese in the United States.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 21 at St. Teresa Church in Chatawa. Burial was in the St. Mary of the Pines cemetery in Chatawa. A memorial Mass is being planned in Dallas in November.

Sister Caroleen was born in St. Louis. She entered the congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame from St. Ann in Normandy, Mo., and professed first vows in 1935. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin and English in 1944 and a master’s in Latin in 1949 from St. Louis University.

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Sister Caroleen first served as a teacher in elementary grades at St. Francis Solanus in Quincy, Ill., in 1933. From 1940-48, she taught in middle and secondary schools in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill. From 1948-67, she was principal at Notre Dame High School in St. Louis; St. Paul High School in Highland, Ill.; St. John Junior High School in Burlington, Iowa; Redemptorist High School in New Orleans; and Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge.

She served as superintnedent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Dallas for 24 years.

In an article in the Texas Catholic in 1993, she was described as demonstrating feisty candor and spunk for which she was known. As superintendent, she “gradually gained acceptance, making staunch friends among those who first ignored her and, many years later, winning election to the executive committee of the Chief Administrators of Catholic Education and awards for her contributions to Catholic education.”

As Dallas superintendent, Sister Caroleen focused on the importance of education for everyone. She has been described as “a professional educator ahead of her time,” and she looked to change systems.

Sister Caroleen has no immediate survivors.

Memorial contributions may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Retirement Fund, c/o Mission Advancement, 320 E. Ripa Ave., St. Louis, MO 63125-2897.