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Feature Articles

Continuing to Serve: S. Marie Irene Schneider
By Katie Drinkuth, Communications summer intern

Berson
Sister of Charity Marie Irene Schneider volunteers as sacristan of the Motherhouse chapel.

“The more time you spend with the Lord, the more he’ll change you,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Marie Irene Schneider as she discusses her volunteer ministry as a sacristan in the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse chapel.

S. Marie Irene took over as sacristan of the Motherhouse chapel this past year. When she started cutting back on her active ministry, Sister started helping out in the sacristy, under the guidance of Sisters Dolores Johnson and Vincent Marie Willman. She thought her responsibilities would include lighting candles and ironing vestments, but realized there was a lot more to the job than that, and she has grown to love it.

Presently, S. Marie Irene and her sister, S. Mary Dolores Schneider, work together, along with a generous group of Sisters who help out with all of the little things that need to be done, like making sure there are lectors and Eucharistic ministers for each Mass. As sacristan, S. Marie Irene says she is often busy but she says, “My faith and trust is stronger because I spend so much time in the chapel.” She believes God has changed her for the better through this ministry.

For 51 years, S. Marie Irene taught high school English, with 44 of those years at Seton High School (Cincinnati) before retiring in 2013. In her last 10 years at the school, she worked with students who needed extra help and encouragement to learn. She missed the students after retiring and was led to assist with the Excel program at Mount St. Joseph University (Cincinnati) for a year until her duties at the Motherhouse chapel increased. In addition, S. Marie Irene has enjoyed working with international Sisters who were getting college degrees in the U.S. at Mount St. Joseph University and were receiving living accommodations at the Motherhouse. Most recently, she helped a Sister from Tanzania better understand her assignments. She graduated in December 2017 and has returned home.

The organizational skills S. Marie Irene gained through teaching readily carry over into her volunteering. She says that though her volunteer responsibilities don’t pertain to English, she enjoys organizing her work in the way she efficiently planned her classes. She especially enjoys the flexibility and freedom that comes with volunteering because it allows her to relax more and perform the tasks when she chooses.

In her retirement S. Marie Irene continues to live out the mission of the Sisters of Charity through helping others and ministering as efficiently as she can. She says, “I’m always conscious that I am one of the Sisters of Charity.”