In Memory

Sister Mary Schmidling, IHM

April 26, 1945 – May 17, 2020

Mary Schmidling, IHM

Sister Mary Schmidling, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Sunday, May 17, 2020, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on April 26, 1945, in Morristown, NJ, and given the name Mary Patricia. She was the daughter of the late James and Muriel Starke Schmidling. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 1, 1968, made temporary profession of her vows on June 20, 1970, and her final profession of vows on August 28, 1973.

Sister Mary served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Mary of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Dunmore, PA, from 1968 to 1970; South Scranton Catholic High School in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1976; St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1976 to 1986; St. Mary High School in Manhasset, NY, from 1986 to 2001; and Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, NJ, from 2002 to 2015.

She also served as a resettlement volunteer at Catholic Social Services in Scranton, PA, from 2016 to 2017; and on the support staff at the IHM Center in Scranton, from 2016 to 2018.

From 2019 until the time of her death, Sister Mary was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science/secondary education and a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Marywood College.

She is survived by two brothers, Robert and his wife, Joan, of Point Pleasant, NJ, and James and his wife, Mimi, of Forked River, NJ; nieces and nephews; and 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.

Memorial Mass:

Combined Vespers Prayer Service:

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

Sister Mary Schmidling, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s memorial mass on Tuesday, September 29, 2020:

The restlessness within us is the spirit of Life
trying to grow beyond what we see to the depths
of what we already know. There is more, much
more, to life than this.
Joan Chittister, OB

To know Mary Schmidling was to know the rich meaning of these words of Joan Chittister. Blessed with a faith and steadfast spirit and values that had their roots in her family experiences with her parents and brothers, Mary carved out her own meaning and path in life from early on. She was a seeker – a seeker of knowledge, of truth, of justice, of meaning – and she traveled through life not by following in the well-worn footsteps of others, but by forging
her own path, guided by her own high standards of faith and conscience and by the truths she discovered along her way. That restless spirit of hers was a call to keep seeking, keep yearning to know the fullness of life that was God’s desire for all of us.

Mary’s journey took her from her home in New Jersey to Marywood University, to Joplin, Missouri, and eventually to the IHM congregation as a response to her deep desire to help others, to make a difference by serving the needs of God’s children here on earth, she said in her letter of application to the congregation. Her fifty years as an IHM were indeed dedicated to serving God through the countless students who benefited from her wise and dedicated service at schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Mary was a superb history teacher and an understanding yet challenging guidance counselor. She thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with her students and took special note of those who needed extra help or a word of encouragement. The stories of her experiences in the classroom reflect her passion for teaching, her appreciation of and care for her students, her sense of humor, and her straight forward but effective way of inspiring them. She encouraged her students to strive for their best, rather than
settle, even if it meant going against the expectations of others. That was Mary’s life-long passion.

After leaving her school ministry, Mary moved to Scranton and worked as a resettlement volunteer at Catholic Social Services and as a support person at the IHM Center before she moved to OLP as a prayer minister. We are forever grateful for her many gifts, for her lived example of integrity and commitment, and for her dedication to family, friends, students, and the God whom she loved deeply.

We remember in our prayers today all of Mary’s family members, especially her brother Robert and his wife, Joan; her brother James and his wife, Mildred; her niece, Kim and all family members; her dear friends, Sisters Josephine, Carlita, and Mary Ellen; the sisters who lived with Mary in Household 4A at OLP; her Band members; the administrators and staff at OLP who took such wonderful care of Mary; and her many friends who walked life’s journey with her and were blessed by her life among us.

We are missing Mary, for sure, especially her remarkable spirit of freedom and adventure, but we know and rejoice that Mary is at home with her God and enjoying eternal life with her parents Muriel and James, and her close friends, Sisters Jane Frances and Mary Kay. Can’t you just picture the three of them together, laughing and smiling at us while they set off on their next heavenly adventure, free of our earthly worries and regulations? I think Mary, with her quick laugh, would relish saying the same words as Winston Churchill said on his death bed when asked if he was ready to meet his Maker. He replied that he was, paused briefly, and then said, “Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” We
have no doubt, Mary, that the God who loved you, inspired you, and gifted you was well prepared to meet you last May 17th, and welcomed you home with arms wide open.

Today we remember and give gratitude to God for Mary’s life among us and pray that perpetual light and happiness continue to shine upon her forever.

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