In Memory

Mother M. Beata Wertz, IHM

July 28, 1898 – September 14, 1989

Mother M. Beata Wertz, IHM, former superior general of the Congregation of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died September 15, 1989, at the Marian Convent in Scranton, Pennsylvania, after an illness.

She was born on July 28, 1898 in Bedford, Pennsylvania and was daughter of the late Charles Ambrose and Margaret Schenck Wertz. She was a member of St. Thomas Parish. Having entered the IHM Congregation on December 8, 1919, she received the religious habit on August 2, 1920, and made profession of her vows on August 15, 1922.

In her many years of ministry, Mother Beata served as a teacher, principal, and local superior in IHM missions in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1955, she was elected to the Council of the Superior General, and in 1962, became superior general of the Congregation. She served in that position until 1974. After completion of her term as superior general, Mother Beata returned to St. Thomas School in Bedford, where she gave small group instruction.

During her tenure as superior general, Mother Beata provided leadership for the IHM Sisters in the implementation of the decrees of Vatican II on the renewal of religious life. She inaugurated the pre­sent form of collegial government in the Congregation and extended the Formation Program to allow for further spiritual development and education of the young Sisters.

Mother Beata brought to completion and dedication the Novitiate Building which later became the IHM Center. She directed the construction of the East Wing of the Marian Convent and provided housing for the Sisters when the Motherhouse was destroyed by fire in 1971.

Under Mother Beata’s leadership, the IHM Sisters opened two foreign missions in Puerto Rico and Peru, the latter still in opera­tion, including a Formation Program for Peruvian women.

At the close of her term of office, Mother Beata was superior general of eleven hundred IHM Sisters serving 18 dioceses in the United States, and in Lima, Peru. The IHM Sisters operate Marywood College, St. Joseph’s Center, St. Joseph Hospital in Carbondale and the Marian Convent. They minister in several elementary schools, secondary schools, social service agencies, pastoral and spiritual centers and special institutions.

Having earned her bachelor and master’s degrees from Marywood College, Mother Beata was awarded an honorary L.L.D. from the University of Scranton and the Presidential Medal from Marywood College. She served on numerous boards and committees.

She is preceded in death by five brothers, Gervaise, Roosevelt William, Ambrose Charles, Loyola Vincent, and Robert Rufus; and three sisters, Sister M. Georgina, IHM, Edna, and Grace Shaffer.

Survivors include nieces and nephews.

The funeral was on September 16, with Mass of Christian Burial in the IHM Center chapel at Marywood. Interment followed at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, Pennsylvania.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

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