Nun died at 103, lived a life of helping

Precious Blood Sister was generous with her time.

A beloved Precious Blood sister passed away on Jan. 5, 2018, at the age of 103. Sister Gladys Marie Lowe gave her life to the Lord’s service at the tender age of 16 on Sept. 4, 1930.

››RELATED: Dayton special-needs prom is Feb. 9

She was quite used to the Sisters of the Precious Blood order, as she lived there as a young girl after the death of her father, David Lowe. Her mother, Mary Gordon Lowe, sought help from St. Joseph Orphanage in east Dayton for Gladys and two siblings.

She would return home after her mother remarried. Unfortunately, her mother passed away from pneumonia after giving birth to her fifth child, Gladys’ half-sister Freida. Gladys, then 12, and her siblings once again found themselves at St. Joseph Orphanage.

Sister Patricia Kremer gave the eulogy at Lowe’s memorial Mass on Jan. 10.

“Gladys remembered sneaking out of bed into the choir loft at the orphanage to observe and listen to the Sisters praying and singing night prayers,” said Kremer at the service. “When asked by one of the sisters what she wanted to do with her life, without a moment’s hesitation she said, ‘I want to join the convent.’ ”

In her religious life, she was given the name Mary Bernetta, but later returned to her baptismal name. By any name, she was loved by all who knew her. After five years of working in domestic arts at Immaculate Heart Seminary and St. Thomas Seminary, she ministered in the healing arts at Kneipp Springs in Indiana for 19 years.

According to Kremer, Lowe’s true love and calling “was to God’s little ones and the poor.” She returned to the orphanage to care for “her boys” for 15 years. She had a 20-year adventure in San Luis Rey, Calif., where she ministered to the young women at San Luis Rey Academy. She also helped the children, parents and faculty of the Old Mission Montessori School out west.

“The little children would follow after her, like a line of ducks,” said Kremer, who lived in San Luis Rey with Lowe for seven months.

While in California, Lowe was busy collecting, sorting and giving away food, clothing and furniture to help those in need. She also organized an annual White Elephant booth to help provide funding for the school. Right before moving back to Dayton in 1994, Father Michel Gagnon, pastor at St. Luis Rey Mission Parish helped organize a retirement potluck to honor her.

He wrote in the invitation, “If this little bundle of dynamite ever lit your fuse, you’ll want to be there to thank her and wish her well in her retirement.”

But retirement didn’t sit well with Lowe. She accompanied sisters at Salem Heights and Emma Hall to doctor appointments and aided recycling efforts. She also loved to play “Nickels” cards and Bingo.

“Gladys was a very skilled Bingo player, often calling out that magic word and collecting her prize of laundry soap, lotion or Kleenex, which she generously shared with others,” remembered Kremer.

››RELATED: Boxes for Kevin: coping with loss of an infant

She was preceded in death by her brothers, David and John Lowe, her sister, Marie Lowe, and her half-sister, Freida Robinette Gram. She is survived by her Precious Blood community of sisters, nieces, nephews and friends.

“Prayer is the real focus of my days. I keep each of you in prayer every day. God is so good to me; I hardly know how to thank Him enough,” wrote Lowe in a Christmas letter she had dictated at the age of 100.

››READ THIS NEXT: Alter grad attends Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar

Contact this contributing writer at 937-225-2211 or email

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers

Grammy award-winning recording artist Fergie was tasked with the pre-game national anthem for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. On paper, that sounds like a great choice, but many viewers thought it could have gone better. Critics pointed out that Fergie’s voice was oddly erratic during the anthem. One sequence even led Warriors forward...
Court tosses most claims in suit against Butler County judge
Court tosses most claims in suit against Butler County judge

Most of the allegations by the former Butler County magistrate, who claims she was fired for being Jewish, have been dismissed from the federal lawsuit she filed against Judge Greg Stephens and Prosecutor Michael Gmoser. Kimberly Edelstein filed a $1 million lawsuit against Stephens, Gmoser and Assistant Prosecutor Dan Ferguson in May, claiming Stephens...
Woman threatens to ‘blow off’ head of Dayton postal worker
Woman threatens to ‘blow off’ head of Dayton postal worker

Federal postal workers in Dayton were threatened by a woman whose mail they will no longer deliver. Dayton police are investigating an aggravated menacing complaint from 1:45 p.m. Friday at the U.S. Postal Service office in the 4300 block of West Third Street. The female suspect is accused of spitting at the postal office supervisor and being belligerent...
Dayton fast food workers threatened with knife
Dayton fast food workers threatened with knife

Police here are investigating after a man with a knife threatened Burger King workers.  The incident happened at the Burger King, 1401 N. Keowee Street, around 8:50 p.m. Saturday.  Dayton police are investigating the aggravated menacing complaint after workers said a man in the drive-through window was waving a knife and yelling about chicken...
Panhandler gets 20 cents, followed by court summons from police
Panhandler gets 20 cents, followed by court summons from police

Police here issued a summons to appear in court for a panhandling offense.  The Dayton police report states a 62-year-old man stepped off a curb and into the roadway to accept 20 cents from a vehicle around 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the 600 block of South Jefferson Street near U.S. 35 East. He was issued a summons to appear for a charge of distribution...
More Stories