In Memoriam: Lorraine Olley Eustis

Submitted by Melody Layton McMahon, Director of the Library, Catholic Theological Union

Dr. Lorraine Olley Eustis, the director of the Feehan Memorial Library and McEssy Theological Resource Center at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, died November 19 after battling pancreatic cancer. Lorraine had been in good health until spring of 2015 when she, on a whim, signed up for a study pertaining to women’s health. After the battery of tests associated with entry to the study, it was found that she had cancer.

Lorraine had a BA Philosophy from Rosary College; MA Divinity and MA Library Science from the University of Chicago; and an Advanced Certificate in Preservation Administration from the School of Library Service, Columbia University. In 2015 she was awarded an honorary DLitt by the University of Saint Mary of the Lake for her commitment to students’ scholarship at USML.

Prior to coming to USML as director in 2007, Lorraine worked in preservation at the libraries of Northwestern University, Indiana University, and New York University. With master’s degrees in both divinity and library science from the University of Chicago, she was able to offer specialized research assistance to students and faculty and to continue the excellence of the collection through her bibliographic knowledge.

As a long-time member of ATLA, Lorraine served on the Membership Advisory Committee from 2009-2012 and chaired the Roman Catholic Denominational Group from 2009-2011. She was a member of Special Collections, Teaching and Learning, Collection Evaluation and Development, Cooperative Preservation for Archives and Libraries Interest Groups, and she was a participant in the 2010 Wabash Colloquy.

Lorraine was an active participant in the Catholic Research Resource Alliance (CRAA) from the beginning of Mundelein’s membership in the organization. She led the Five-Year Strategic Planning Task Force the year they joined, 2011/12. She was a member of the CRAA Board of Directors from 2013-16.  She was a member of the Catholic Newspapers Committee Digitizing Partners Group, which over two years developed the digitization plan, and more recently, she co-chaired the Development Committee which advised CRRA on seeking grants for newspaper digitization and ongoing funding.

There is a wonderful interview with Lorraine on the Mundelein website from spring of 2015. Most of the questions are about the great treasures that are held in the collection there which Lorraine especially held dear as a preservationist. She was always telling me of some old box they had just opened and what exciting thing they had found. She was great for sharing too. Recently, after the death of Cardinal George, she sent us a few boxes of material that was about the religious order he belonged to because she knew we have a special collection in religion life and religious orders.

In the interview, she also very eloquently described what most of us hope for our libraries and our students. “Over the library is the inscription, ‘Wisdom has built herself a home’ (Sapientia Aedificavit Sibi Domum), which I think expresses the essence of the library. It is not a storehouse, but it is a source of collected wisdom of the Scriptures and the Church. It is supposed to cultivate a living memory where connections can be made. When I talk to seminarians about the importance of using the library I will sometimes ask them to think of it as a place where you can take a book and have St. Teresa of Avila speak to you. You can have a conversation with her as you read and contemplate what she has said. You can converse with Ignatius of Antioch, Origen, Aquinas, if you try really hard.” (Read the full interview here).

Lorraine was the wife of Paul, stepmother of Dan Eustice, daughter of Raymond Joseph and Mary Jane Olley, sister of Catherine Stevens, Joanna Roat, Regina Schildhouse, Raymond, Timothy, Kevin.

Visitation was held at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 9 a.m. before the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Afterwards, the congregation processed to the campus cemetery where Lorraine was laid to rest.

Eternal rest grant to her, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace, Amen. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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