Sr. Assunta Highbaugh, 99, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, died on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at the monastery’s Hildegard Health Center.
She was part of the religious community that founded Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace in the 1980s and a strong presence in local Catholic schools for decades.
Sr. Assunta was born September 17, 1916, in Alexandria, Indiana, the second of two children of Harvey and Nellie (Wood) Highbaugh. She entered the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand in 1931 and made her profession of monastic vows in 1933. She celebrated the 80th anniversary of her monastic profession in 2013.
She is survived by nieces, nephews, and members of her religious community. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Harvey, and stepsisters Lorraine (Prieshoff) Leffler, Kathleen (Prieshoff) Doyle, Lucille (Prieshoff) Dugan, and Peggy (Prieshoff) Hagelskamp.
Sr. Assunta taught at St. Paul School in Tell City, St. Ambrose School in Seymour, and St. Benedict School and St. Joseph School, both in Evansville. She was principal at Christ the King School and St. Pius X School, both in Indianapolis. She served as dean and president of St. Benedict College in Ferdinand and as a student teacher supervisor at College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. She was a founding member of Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace, California. In the Diocese of San Bernardino, she served as principal at St. Mel School in Norco, and at St. Mary Regional School in Apple Valley; as a teacher in Rancho Jurupa, and at Our Lady of Guadalupe; and as assistant principal at both Notre Dame High School and Aquinas High School. She served in parish ministry at Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in Huntington Beach, and at St. Catherine Parish in Laguna Beach. She served as prioress and ministered to the sick at Holy Spirit Monastery. After returning to Ferdinand, she worked in supportive services at the monastery. She most recently served in the ministry of prayer.
Funeral Mass was held on July 18 in the monastery church followed by burial in the monastery cemetery.