Biographies

Sister M. Edwardine Hartlieb, MM

Born: December 28, 1903
Entered: October 16, 1925
Died: June 30, 1963

On the feast of St. Paul, June 30, 1963, the angel of the resurrection came to Bethany again — this time to claim our dear Sister Mary Edwardine. In the afternoon we witnessed the crowning in Rome of Pope Paul VI, via Telstar, and before the great day ended, Sister went to receive from Our Lord Himself the crown of her many years of labor and suffering.

Sister Mary Edwardine (Marcella Frances Hartlieb) was born December 28, 1903 in South Easthope, Ontario, Canada, into a family of eight children that gave a priest and four religious Sisters to the service of the Church. As a young woman she followed a Nursing Course at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario. While there she read a book on the China Missions by a Father Fraser, and thereafter she longed to follow a missionary vocation herself. Upon completion of her training, she came to Maryknoll. Once she understood the true meaning of religious consecration, her eagerness to do nursing in China was kept in the safe channel of God’s Will. “Because I think it is God’s Will” was the motive expressed on her application blank, and through all her life as a religious, the struggle to conform her ardent nature to this ideal was beautifully evident. Many times she would be called upon to abandon herself to the Will of her Divine Spouse.

Marcella Frances Hartlieb entered Maryknoll on October 16, 1925, and received the habit and her religious name on July 30, 1926. First Profession followed on April 30, 1928. In August of the same year, she was assigned to Yeng You, Korea and there pronounced her Final Vows in 1931. The following year she went to Gishu, and in 1933 was made superior of the Shingiahu mission, where she served until December 1941. At that time Sister M. Sylvester became very ill in Korea and Sister Mary Edwardine was appointed to accompany her back to the Motherhouse. But because of an error on her Visa, Sister had to go directly from San Francisco to her home in Ontario, where she was to spend four months before her papers were in order. During that period she made herself useful caring for two very ill members of the community with which she stayed. Due to the outbreak of World War II, Sister then remained at the Motherhouse.

In 1944, Sister was assigned to Siuna, Nicaragua, but the onset of an illness shortly after made it necessary to cancel this. Two years later, the disease still progressing, she went to the Venard, where, from 1948 to 1952 she served as assistant superior. Then the advanced state of her illnesses made it necessary for her to go to Bethany. At this point several illnesses began to plague her but, with her dogged determination to contribute whatever she could to the work in an active way, she always fought through the pain.

For the last two and one—half years of her life, Sister Mary Edwardine was confined for most of the time to her room, except for occasional excursions in her wheelchair. In May of this year there were signs of her condition deteriorating further and on June 27 she became critically ill. Sister said her final “fiat” to her Divine Master. Her brother, Father E. Hartlieb, arrived in time to receive a smile of recognition and he remained at her side until she expired at 11 p.m.

Let us give generously of our prayers for Sister. She will be laid to rest in our hillside cemetery on Wednesday, July 3.