This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

Virgil Kummer, OP

Virgil Kummer, O.P.
November 9, 1924 – October 25, 2021 

In the far Southwest corner of Wisconsin stands a towering mound surrounded by a vast prairie; situated upon the highest crest is the motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. In 1828, Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, a young Dominican priest from Milan, Italy came to the American frontier. Samuel traveled the upper Midwest, ministering to the Native people and immigrants there traveling on horse, sled, and canoe. He designed over twenty-four churches and civic buildings throughout Wisconsin and also published the Winnebago prayer book and a liturgical almanac in Chippewa, the latter becoming the first published book in what was to become the state of Wisconsin. In 1844 he purchased the Sinsinawa Mound property and founded the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in 1847. In 1993, Pope Saint John Paul II declared Fr. Samuel “Venerable” – the first step in the process of official church recognition of his sanctity.

Among the many spiritual daughters of Saint Dominic and Venerable Samuel was a woman named Evelyn Kummer. Born in Minneapolis on November 9, 1924, to Nicholas and Ethel (Helbach) Kummer, she professed her final vows in the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation in 1947 taking the name Sr. Virgil. She chose her name in honor of a favorite teacher, Benedictine Sr. Virgil Michel, O.S.B. who was a blood sister of Fr. Virgil Michel O.S.B., one of America’s most honored liturgical reform pioneers.

Sr. Virgil was sent on mission to over nine states teaching music, religion, and various elementary grades while earning a bachelor’s degree in music from Rosary College (now Dominican University). In 1966 she completed her masters in liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. She continued teaching at the elementary and secondary levels, led her Congregation through liturgical renewal, and eventually moved to full time parish music ministry culminating in the 1980’s and 90’s with an appointment as director of liturgy for the diocese of Beaumont, Texas. She was a mover and a shaker in Beaumont, tending to the liturgical needs of local parishes, hosting workshops with the foremost liturgists and musicians of the day all the while forming close ties with her fellow members of the Southwest Liturgical Conference (SWLC). She hosted the conference’s yearly meeting in 1987 and was the recipient of the SWLC Faithful Servant Award in 1992. Sr Virgil was also chosen to be the cantor at Pope John Paul’s Mass in San Antonio in 1987.

Her last fifteen years were spent back at the Sinsinawa Mound where she led retreats, workshops, and faith groups. At 97 years of age, she was up, about, and active before suffering an unfortunate fall. As the beautiful autumn colors graced the earth, she received natural burial with her community in the soil of the Sinsinawa Mound as her fellow sisters, along with the wider church, celebrated a week graced with All Saints Day, All Souls Day, the feast of Saint Martin dePorres, O.P. and the natal feast of Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P.

Tribute prepared by Michael A. Cymbala with help from Sr. Patty Gallagher, O.P. and the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters.