M. Norleen Rans

Born during a blizzard on February 4, 1929 to parents, Andrew Paul and Hattie (Green) Rans in Springfield, MN her parents selected the name Lois Mae for their 5th child who was christened on March 3, 1929 at St. Joseph Church, Clements, MN. She grew up on the family farm in Sundown Township in Redwood County with her brothers, Norbert and Loren and sisters, Dolores and Janet. She graduated from Good Counsel Academy on June 8, 1947 and that summer her brother was ordained as a priest and she entered into the candidature of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Reception into the community took place July 20, 1949 at the age of 18 and was known as Sister Mary Norleen Rans. First profession took place on July 21, 1950 with Final Profession on July 21, 1956. 

Norleen went on to receive a BS degree in education from Mt. Mary College, Milwaukee, WI in 1961and received an MS in Elementary Administration from Mankato State University, Mankato, MN on July 16, 1971. She also received a Certification of Development for Public Relations and Fundraising from Notre Dame University in 1978 and a Certification in Communication Skills from Detroit University. 

Norleen spent the years 1970-1988 teaching in various elementary schools and at times served as Principal. In 1988 she became the Director of Development for the Mankato province of School of Notre Dame. She also was editor of the MEMOS and RE-ECHOES newsletters. 

During the years starting in 1978, Norleen represented the City of Mankato with the Region 9 Arts Council for nine years, was a member of Region 9 Administrative Women in Education, member of the Chamber of Commerce, the coordinator of the Good Counsel Alumnae Association in 1980 and was a founding board member of the Mankato Freedom School Fundraising committee. 

On December 14, 1988, Lois Mae Rans legally changed her name to M. Norleen Rans, stepped down from the apostolate of the SSND and embarked on a new career as Director of the Immanuel-St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Mankato MN until her retirement. 

Since this time, she has lived first independently and then with care from the staff at Oak Terrace Living, North Mankato, MN where she passed away on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings; and long time friend and travel companion, Jean Taylor Bender. Survived by nieces, Mary Ellen Hoffert, MN, Nancy Toppen, FL, and Kathleen Sullivan of VA. 

The Rans/Sullivan families are especially grateful to Dr. Mark and Rhonda Taylor of Mankato who were her loving guardians during the last years of Norleen’s life.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private graveside service is planned at Glenwood Cemetery. Per Norleen’s request, donations can be sent to one of the following:  ISJ Hospital (MCHS), St. John’s Catholic Church, or St. Thomas More Newman Center all in Mankato, MN.

Springfield Advance-Press

13 S. Marshall Avenue PO Box 78 Springfield, MN 56087