Sister Irma Schumacher

Sister Irma Schumacher


Sister Irma (Mary) Schumacher, 97, died peacefully at St. Scholastica Convent at 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, 1986. Sister’s health had been failing for some time but she was acutely ill for only a week and spoke with Sisters at her bedside until shortly before her death.

Mary was born on December 5, l888,the youngest of eleven children born to Michael and Emelina (Dehmer) Schumacher. The family lived in St. Michael, MN, where Mary attended grade school. After graduation from St. Benedict’s Academy, she became a postulant in January, 1908, was received as a novice on July 10, 1908, made vows on July 11, 1909, and celebrated her Diamond Jubilee (75 years) in 1984. Sister Irma attended the University of Minnesota and the extension of the Catholic University in Dubuque, Iowa, and received a B.A. degree from St. John’s University, Collegeville, in 1915. During this time she taught Latin and German in the Academy. After receiving an M.A. degree in Latin from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 19l6,Sister Irma taught Latin at the College of St. Benedict until 1964 and did further graduate work at the Universities of Minnesota and Notre Dame. Sister Irma’s kindness and helpfulness to her students caused them to feel they were attending classes in Christian living. They enjoyed studying the stars from the college rooftop as part of their Latin class. A college residence building named for her is a tribute to her lifelong interest in and concern for the college and its students.

Sister Irma showed equal interest in the welfare of St. Benedict’s Convent. She taught breviary Latin in the novitiate for many years and served effectively as a Council member. In retirement, Sister suffered from inability to read for long periods and from arthritis.

Sister Irma died on the second anniversary of the death of her sister, Sister Valencia, with whom she carne to St. Benedict’s in 1908. Another sister died as a novice of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Milwaukee. Three other sisters and five brothers also preceded her in death. A wake was held at St. Scholastica Convent on Sunday, June 29, and a wake service at St. Benedict’s at 7 p.m. the same day. The Mass of Resurrection was celebrated at 4 p.m. on June 30.

Sister Irma’s faithfulness to prayer, her wisdom, understanding and good judgment in making decisions for convent and college expressed the reality of God’s grace in her. May our loving God receive her into the fullness of new life and joy.

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