In Memory

Sister M. Isabel Schratwieser, IHM

December 2, 1922 – July 16, 2020

Isabel Schratweiser, IHM

Sister M. Isabel Schratwieser, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on December 2, 1922 in East Rockaway, NY, and given the name Helen. She was the daughter of the late Arthur J. and Lauretta Coffey Schratwieser. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 1, 1947, made temporary profession of her vows on August 2, 1949, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1952.

Sister Isabel served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Bernardine Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1949 to 1950; Mt. Holly Regional Catholic School in Mt. Holly, NJ, from 1950 to 1952 and 1957 to 1959; St. Basil Elementary School in Dushore, PA, from 1952 to 1953; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Jermyn, PA, from 1953 to 1957; Cathedral High School in Scranton, PA, from 1959 to 1963; Immaculata High School in New York, NY, from 1963 to 1969; St. Mark High School in Wilmington, DE, from 1969 to 1972; South Scranton Catholic High School in Scranton, PA, from 1972 to 1973; Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1973 to 1977; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Elementary School in Asbury Park, NJ, from 1977 to 1980; Maria Regina Diocesan High School in Uniondale, NY, from 1980 to 1982; and St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1982 to 1985.

She also served as library assistant and technical processor at Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1986 to 1993; dietary assistant at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1993 to 2003; prayer minister at IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2003 to 2007; receptionist and a volunteer at Heartworks Gift Shop at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA, from 2007 to 2012.

From 2012 until the time of her death, Sister Isabel served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics/history and a Master of Arts degree in English from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by a sister, Lauretta Schratwieser.

She is survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Due to the restrictions related to the coronavirus, there will be a private graveside service only. Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

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.


Combined Vespers Prayer Service:

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2020 issue

Sister M. Isabel Schratwieser, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s funeral on Tuesday, July 21, 2020:

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing
I shall want. Though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for you are with me; your rod and
your staff comfort me.

For seventy-one years of religious life, Isabel witnessed her fidelity and dedication to God through a life lived by these words from Psalm 23, her favorite. The daughter of Lauretta and Arthur Schratwieser, she was born in East Rockaway, New York along with her sister, Lauretta. After graduating from high school, she worked as a typist for several years. When her mother died, she quit her job to help out at home. She did volunteer work at a local library during this time before recognizing and responding to her call to the IHMs. After her profession, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics with a Minor in History and later, a Master of Arts degree in English, both from Marywood College.

Isabel ministered as an educator for almost forty years in various elementary and high schools in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. As a teacher, she was blessed with incredible patience, versatility and resourcefulness, as evidenced by the fact that she has the rare distinction of having taught every grade from First through Twelfth, and later at the college level, during her career. To say that Isabel was a born teacher is an understatement. She loved helping her students find success, both in the classroom and in meeting the day to day challenges of growing up and maturing and she really worked at finding ways to help them learn from their mistakes. That, for Isabel, was the real challenge and gift of
being a teacher. Her patience, understanding, and joy nurtured that growth in countless young women and men.

To know Isabel was to know that she strived to live out her fidelity to God and to her IHM congregation throughout her life. She was a deeply spiritual person who sought to deepen her own spirituality and to bring the presence of God to her students and those with whom she shared life. She wasn’t pushy or ostentatious in doing this – she simply lived what she believed and taught. Her example was the clearest lesson any student or anyone of us could ever need. Even after Isabel ended her classroom days, she continued to find ways to help others. She served as an assistant librarian at Marywood for a number of years, putting her young adult experience as a volunteer librarian to good use. She later was a dietary assistant at the Marian Convent for ten years, a receptionist and volunteer at Our Lady of Peace for nine years, and a prayer minister there for the past eight years.

Isabel’s reserve and determined manner was sometimes mistaken for a lack of feeling or compassion by those who didn’t know her. But anyone fortunate enough to live or minister with Isabel recall her kind spirit, her integrity, her hospitality, and her great generosity. She wrote notes to sisters who lived and ministered in places distant from other IHMs, just to let them know they were being thought about. She kept herself up to date on world and IHM news, and really enjoyed good conversations about almost any subject. She was quick to reach out to help others whenever possible, sometimes simply by lending a listening ear and heart. Her abiding love of God was evident to all.

We will miss Isabel’s faithful presence among us, including her famous breakneck speed going down the OLP halls in her motorized chair, but we rejoice that she is now at home with her God and enjoying eternal life with her parents, Lauretta and Arthur, and her sister, Lauretta, who preceded her in death. I have no doubt they are all celebrating a joyous reunion today in heaven.

We remember today very specially Isabel’s friends and all who knew and loved her, especially those who shared life with her here at OLP. We ask the God of all consolation to comfort them in this time of loss. And so we celebrate Isabel’s grace-filled life among us today, the words of her favorite Psalm
23 speak to her faith:

You prepare a table before me…
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Today Isabel dwells with the God she followed so faithfully here on earth. Let us celebrate with joy her life as we begin this liturgy today.

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