School Sister of Notre Dame Sister Caroleen Baummer, who spent most of her 43 years in education teaching music at Notre Dame Preparatory Lower School in Towson, the former St. Ann School in Baltimore and the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, died Dec. 4 at 94.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Sister Caroleen was baptized at St. Michael the Archangel in Fells Point just one day after her birth on Oct. 6, 1923. She recalled learning to love music growing up, according to an obituary prepared by her order. Her mother played piano and her father sang in the St. Michael choir.
Her first interaction with the School Sisters of Notre Dame was in high school at the Institute of Notre Dame. It was then that she first considered her vocation, but would not decide to pursue the religious life until her junior year at what is now the Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Sister Caroleen earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and music in 1944, the same year that she entered the candidature. She received the name Sister Mary Caroleen in honor of her brother, Charles, and professed her first vows in 1946. In 1956, she earned her master’s in music education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
In addition to her service at Notre Dame Preparatory Lower School (1946-51), St. Ann School (1951-54), and the Institute of Notre Dame (1964-89), Sister Caroleen taught at St. Margaret Mary High School in Harrisburg, Pa. (1954-64). She served as coordinator of pastoral services and provided music and community service at Villa Assumpta in Baltimore from 1989 until her retirement in 2014.
She is remembered as “gracious, gentle, with a peaceful spirit,” in an obituary provided by her order that also commended her musical talent and ability to help others reach their potentials.
A funeral Mass was offered Dec. 12 by Capuchin Franciscan Father Roman Kovacheson. Members of Sister Caroleen’s family and the Institute of Notre Dame’s Select Choir provided music for the liturgy.