In Memory

Sister M. Electa Schmidt, IHM

December 31, 1926 – December 2, 2020

Electa Schmidt, IHM

Sister M. Electa Schmidt, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born December 31, 1926 in Linden, PA, and given the name Anna Catherine. She was the daughter of the late John and Catherine Schrant Schmidt. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1946, made temporary profession of her vows on May 8, 1949, and her final profession of vows on August 3, 1952.

Sister Electa served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Ann High School in Scranton, PA, from 1949 to 1951; St. Joseph Elementary School in Renovo, PA, from 1951 to 1954; St. Monica Elementary School in Raleigh, NC, from 1954 to 1958; South Scranton Catholic High School in Scranton, PA, from 1958 to 1961; Immaculata High School in New York, NY, from 1961 to 1966; St. Mary of the Mount High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1966 to 1970 and 1979 to 1982; Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, PA, from 1970 to 1972; Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore, PA, from 1976 to 1977; Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, PA, from 1977 to 1978; and Cathedral High School in New York, NY, from 1982 to 1986.

Sister served as both principal and teacher at Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1972 to 1976.

Sister Electa served as office manager of the Communications Office at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 1978 to 1979 and 1986 to 1991. She served as an administrative assistant at the following: Our Lady of Grace Center in Manhasset, NY, from 1991 to 1994; St. Ann Elementary School in New York, NY, from 1994 to 1997; and Holy Family Elementary School in St. Petersburg, FL, from 1997 to 1999.

Sister also served as a pastoral minister at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Parsons, WV, from 1999 to 2006; and on the support staff in the Vocations Office at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2006 to 2013, and in the Human Resources Office at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA, from 2008 to 2016.

From 2016 until the time of her death, Sister Electa was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in business education from Marywood College and a Master of Science degree in education from Duquesne University.

She is preceded in death by four brothers, Edward, Richard, Robert, and John; and three sisters, Marie S. Harrow, Mildred S. Burditt, and Mary Schmidt.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, Jane Schmidt of Barberton, OH; nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus, the funeral mass and graveside service are private.

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.

Funeral Mass:

Combined Vespers Prayer Service:

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2021 issue

Sister M. Electa Schmidt, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s funeral on Monday, December 7, 2020:

Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of
divine love, which linger and continue to uplift
others long after your sharing.


When I received word that Electa had died last Wednesday morning, two thoughts came to me: first, that this gentle, kind person who quietly touched so many people’s lives had slipped away from us into God’s heart in the same way she lived, quietly, no fuss, no bother; and second, a reminder of the best “missed the bus story” I ever heard. (More about that later). All who knew Electa have wonderful memories and stories to tell because she touched them with her sincerity, her humility, her humor, her deep faith and love of God, and her kindness. She did not seek personal attention or gain, but put others first. When we came into her presence, we were greeted by a little smile, laughing eyes, and a quick greeting. Her greatest joy, I think, was in seeing to the well-being of others.

Electa was the seventh of eight children born to her parents, Catherine and John. She grew up on a farm where she learned to love the outdoors,
especially when it snowed. How fitting that it snowed last Wednesday, the day she died. Her family did not own a car in her childhood days, so they walked the four miles to and from their parish church every Sunday. Electa first met the IHMs in high school and immediately decided she wanted to join them, but her parents weren’t so sure. They asked her to work for two years after high school before they gave permission for her to enter. After her novitiate, Electa earned an undergraduate degree in Business Education and later a master’s degree in Education. She spent thirty-six years teaching junior high and high school students, including four years as principal, in schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina. She truly loved the challenge and the joy of teaching, especially the interaction with her students each day. Some of her students continued to stay in touch with her even
after she came to live at OLP. Following her teaching career, Electa served as office manager of the IHM communications office, administrative
assistant at schools in New York and Florida, and at Our Lady of Grace Center in Manhasset, NY, and later at our IHM vocations office, and
our human resources office here at OLP. Before coming back to Scranton for these latter two positions, Electa also served seven years as pastoral
minister at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Parsons, West Virginia. There she taught religious education classes, visited homebound parishioners and
those in nursing homes, and served on various parish and interparish committees in the diocese. She was well loved by the people she met there
for her compassion and organizational skills and her pastoral presence with all. Her influence was lasting; several people from her ministry there
continued to stay in touch with her after she left.

To know Electa was to know a person full of gratitude for all her blessings, humble in all her many talents, and full of joy at the adventures life afforded her. She was simply a delight to be around. The only way you might know she was upset or angry with something or someone was when she hummed – no shouting or harsh words, just humming. (Maybe we would all do well to follow her example). She enjoyed being in community and hearing others stories, though she usually listened more than she talked. She had a unique, dry sense of humor with the gift of a great sense of timing so when she did make a comment, those listening could hardly contain their laughter. Her thoughtfulness and quiet joy opened our hearts to the beauty and joy of a life lived totally for others and her God. Electa’s own deep faith allowed her to experience life with absolute trust and understanding and with humor.
She understood others for who they were and still accepted and loved them no matter what—and her life teaches us to do the same.

Electa’s presence brightened our lives and there have been many stories shared about her during these last few days that have lifted our sadness into joy with the memories. I can’t resist telling one story, and I know Electa enjoyed it too, so I don’t think she’ll mind my sharing it. When Electa was at the IHM Center several years ago, she decided to check out those one day bus trips to the Atlantic City casinos. I think the cost of the trip was $10, you would leave early in the morning, and they would give you $20 to spend at the casinos, and then the bus would return to Scranton late that evening. Electa thought the experience would be fun, so off she went, by herself. She arranged to have one of the sisters meet her at the bus station when it returned that evening. Well, Electa really enjoyed her day in Atlantic City, visiting some of the casinos and walking the boardwalk taking in the sights. However, she lost track of time, (not unusual for Electa) and missed the bus back to Scranton. Now, if you know Electa, you would understand that she
didn’t panic. She got herself to the Atlantic City bus station, found out the next bus to Scranton was not until the next morning, bought a ticket,
and settled calmly into a chair at the bus station for the night. Those were the days before cell phones and Electa apparently tried to call home from a pay phone but got no answer, so she assumed the sisters would just figure out what happened and be at the bus station the next morning. Meanwhile, the sisters in Scranton were more than a bit frantic when she didn’t return on the scheduled bus, and no one seemed to have any information about her. They finally asked Rose DiFluri, who lived in Camden, to drive the 45 minutes to Atlantic City to see if she could learn anything. Rose eventually found Electa in the bus station, who patiently explained to Rose that she was sorry for all the inconvenience. She sent Rose back home, spent the night in the bus station, and took the bus home the next morning. Her take on the whole experience was that it was an adventure, she was not afraid, and it all
worked out okay. I do not think the sisters at the Center had the same conclusion! I love the story because it captures Electa’s spirit so well.

So today while we still struggle with the suddenness of Electa’s death, we gather in hope as a community of believers because our faith and the life of this kind and grateful woman show us how. Her gratitude for the blessings of her IHM Congregation, her students, those who worked with her, and her friends and family was never ending, and spilled over into an appreciation and enjoyment of life. We rejoice in her gift of self which benefited so many people. We celebrate her generosity and humility in sharing her gifts, and her calm, reassuring presence. We are grateful for her kindness in so many ways, for her companionship, her humor and quick wit, her love for others, her appreciation for nature, especially the cold weather and snow, and her
free and adventuresome spirit that allowed her to experience the fullness of each day’s gift.

We will always have a smile when we think of Electa, for we were truly blessed by her one beautiful life.

We pray today for Electa’s sister-in-law, Jane, her nieces and nephews, her IHM sisters, especially those who shared life with her here at Our Lady of Peace, and all whose lives were fortunate to be touched by Electa’s life. We ask the God of all consolation to comfort them and all of us at this time of loss.

Even in our sadness that Electa will no longer be with us here on earth, we rejoice that she is now in the presence of God and all the angels and saints, including her parents, Catherine and John, her sisters, Marie, Mildred, and Mary, and her brothers, Edward, Richard, Robert, and John. I think we can all imagine Electa’s smile and the great joy in heaven last Wednesday at this family reunion.

Our minds will still talk to her; Our hearts will still look for her; But our souls know that she is at peace… and we know for certain that last Wednesday, Electa did not miss the bus to heaven and that her trip was direct and speedy.

Sister Kate will now place the scriptures on her casket, for indeed Electa heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons her home.

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