Sr. Doris Holohan OSF

Sr. Doris Holohan, age 88 of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana, died on November 30, 2023 at Margaret Mary Health in Batesville, Indiana.  Born on April 28, 1935, in Streator, Illinois, she was the tenth of sixteen children born to John and Anna Holohan.  Her father worked for the railroad and her mother was a housewife.

Baptized Dorothy, she described her family as “very happy, because we all knew we were loved dearly by our parents who often struggled to make ends meet.”  By the time Dorothy was in the eighth grade, after her father had died suddenly, she took an after-school/weekend job at the local hospital to help with family bills.

When she was in high school Dorothy was thinking of a religious vocation. Sensing this, her mother encouraged her daughter to join her in the Franciscan Lay Third Order.  When the opportunity presented itself, Dorothy entered the aspirancy at Oldenburg to finish high school, and she entered the convent in 1953.  Her older sister, Cecilia, was already a Sister with the Sisters of St. Francis. Another older sister, Kathryn (Kate), would later enter the convent also. Sister Doris taught primary and intermediate grades for 11 years in New Albany, Aurora, and Batesville, Indiana and in Cincinnati, Ohio. While she enjoyed teaching, when the Oldenburg community accepted a mission in Papua New Guinea, Doris realized an intense call to be a foreign missionary.  It took several years to convince community leadership, but in 1966 Doris was sent to Papua, New Guinea where she first taught elementary classes and then was an administrator at the Holy Trinity Teachers College.

From 1982-1992 Doris served in Papua, New Guinea as a formator for the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, a newly formed community of Indigenous Sisters, and as the regional coordinator for the Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters.  After that she had the opportunity to focus on being a Personality and Human Relations educator in a program that she had found helpful in her own life. PHR introduces a process which helps participants develop their self-image and not be satisfied with the roles assigned to them.  Doris travelled across Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands giving the sessions to help others live more fully.  She remembered this as her favorite ministry.

In 2011 Doris returned to the Motherhouse where she was active in greeting guests, in visiting and sitting with infirm sisters and in interacting with youth in the Adopt-a Sis program.  More recently Sister has served by presence and prayer.

Sr. Doris is survived by her brother Jerry Holohan; sister Sr. Kathryn Holohan, OSF, as well as nieces and nephews.  In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Ronald, Jack, Bill, Leo, and Patrick Holohan; sisters Sr. Cecilia Holohan, OSF, Mary Harcharik, Rita Green, Helen Marconie, Marcella Orsen, Annette Denko, Diane Spaniol, and Patricia Holohan.

Prayer and visitation will be Thursday, December 7th, from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. followed by the Mass at 11:00 a.m., all at the convent chapel, with Fr. Ken Overberg SJ officiating.  The burial will be at the Motherhouse Cemetery in Oldenburg.  For those unable to attend, services will be live streamed at  Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis, P.O. Box 100, Oldenburg, Indiana 47036 (  For online condolences go to