Birth: June 12, 1960
Profession: January 20, 2013
Death: April 29. 2014
Religious of the Sacred Heart Elisabeth Brinkmann, an educator at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York, died Tuesday, April 29, 2014. She was 53. Remembered for her vast intellect, dry sense of humor and intense nature, her life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 9th, in the chapel of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, 91st Street, New York. Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. in the Society of the Sacred Heart cemetery at Kenwood in Albany the following day, May 10.
Elisabeth Brinkmann was born June 12, 1960 in Geneva, Switzerland, to Leo and Ursula Brinkmann. She and her sister and brothers were raised in Germany, England, Florida and Texas. She became a naturalized United States citizen on November 18, 1985. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 2000 and made her first vows at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois. She made her final profession in the Society in Rome last year, January 21, 2013. She is survived by her mother, Ursula Brinkmann of Austin, Texas, her sister, Anne Birch, and two brothers, Peter Brinkmann and Johannes Brinkmann. Her father predeceased her.
Sister Brinkmann had a brilliant mind. Her first degree was in electrical engineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She worked for several years as an electrical engineer before becoming a parish youth minister at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Concord, California in 1988. She returned to school for her Master’s Degree in Systematic Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, as well as clinical pastoral education certification, while serving as a resident hospital chaplain and ethicist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
She began her doctorate in theology at Boston College in 1994 and earned her Ph.D. in Roman Catholic Theological Ethics in 1999. Her area of expertise was medical ethics. She served as a teaching fellow at Boston College for two additional years before becoming a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. While in the novitiate in Chicago, 2001-03, she also taught Ethics part-time at the Catholic Theological Union.
From 2003 to 2011, Sister Brinkmann’s primary ministry was teaching religious studies at the College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, New York. Many of the students at the College of New Rochelle were the first in their families to go to college, and she loved the challenge and opportunity to help them grow. She loved making a difference in the lives of students who might otherwise be left on the margins. An educator “to the tips of her toes,” she was happiest when she was teaching. She made ethics and theology come alive for her students.
In 2011, she returned to teaching ethics at the Catholic Theological Union (Chicago) both in the classroom and through online classes.
Sister Brinkmann was passionate about Sacred Heart education and committed to formation to mission. She had been working in mission programs for parents and alumnae at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City since February 2013 and was planning to begin a full-time ministry there at the time of her death.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sprout Creek Farm, 34 Lauer Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603 or the Convent of the Sacred Heart, 1 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128-0630.
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You trust in God, trust in me.
In my Father’s house there are many place to live in;
Otherwise I would have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
And after I have gone and prepared a place,
I shall return to take you to myself,
So that you may be with me where I am.