Sister Mary Schmagner was in first grade at St. Philip Neri School in Chicago when a Dominican priest visited her class to tell the children about being a missionary in China. It so inspired the little girl that not only was she ready right then to become a missionary and go to China, but she even wrote a composition for class stating, “The Navy says, ‘Join the Navy and see the world.’ I say, ‘Join the Dominicans and save the world.’”
Her zeal only lasted until second grade, however, because at that point she discovered boys and “there was no more thought of religious life until my senior year at Aquinas,” she wrote in her life story.
Mary Elizabeth Schmagner was born in Chicago on August 15, 1930, to John and Elizabeth (Sorauf) Schmagner. John was born in Hurley, Wisconsin, of German immigrant parents, while Betty came from Ironwood, Michigan, the child of immigrants from Trieste (which today is part of Italy). The two married in Chicago and settled on the city’s South Side in St. Laurence Parish; three years later, Mary, who was to be their only child, was born.
“Ours was a happy home,” Sister Mary wrote. “Since there were no siblings to rub off the raw edges, my parents supplied a formation with love and discipline to prepare me for life’s challenges. I like to think of myself as SPOILED with love but unselfish.”
Read more about Sister Mary (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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