Sharon Chavolla, mother, grandmother, Franciscan and lover of Creation, died May 24, 2017, at home in La Crosse. She was 73.

Sharon’s gentle nature and strong heart radiates through her children, grandchildren, family and all who knew her, just as it did during her time on earth.

Sharon’s life work was abundant and diverse, rooted in the simple power of reverent relationship. She loved and served the Latino immigrant community as an interpreter and vocal supporter. For 14 years, she massaged and brought comfort to the Franciscan sisters living at Villa St. Joseph. Through her practice, Wellspring of Peace Massage, she used Maya Abdominal Massage and other therapeutic techniques to bring health and relief to countless people, and worked closely with the Amish community. In all of these relationships, Sharon brought a deeply healing presence.

This healing presence extended beyond human relationships. Sharon was known for her deep awareness of plants. She knew how to help them along, and how they in turn help people. Like St. Francis, Sharon helped us see that our relationship with Creation is intimate and sacred.

All who knew Sharon knew her children and grandchildren were central to her experience. Born Oct. 25, 1943, in Wallawalla, Wash., Sharon joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Aug. 12, 1962, then left the community in 1973, and raised a family in Michoacan, Mexico, where she lived for 15 years. She rejoined the FSPA as an affiliate in 1989, and returned to the United States in 1999.

A lifelong Catholic, her devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe was palpable in Sharon’s own motherly presence in the world. Whenever telling stories about her family, her eyes shone. Her commitment to and love for her children and grandchildren was obviously boundless, and no doubt remains so.

She is survived by her children, Jaime Chavolla, Hugo Chavolla, Joel Chavolla and Eileen Wynos; and Eileen’s husband, Chad Wynos; her grandchildren, Leo and Obi Chavolla, and Kari and Sasha Wynos; her husband, Jaime Chavolla; and her pets, Herman and Trixie.

Sharon is preceded in death by her father, Hugh McEwen; mother, Georgia Love; stepfather, Leo Love; and pets, Daisy and Emma Lou.

A celebration of Sharon’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, at San Damiano Chapel at Viterbo University.

Sharon, our prayers are with you.

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