Biographies

Sister Mary Georgea Schmitt, MM

Born: February 26, 1897
Entered: September 7, 1920
Died: December 10, 1980

After a very long illness, Sister Mary Georgea Schmitt died peacefully in our Maryknoll Nursing Home at 4:45 A.M., Wednesday, December 10. For the past months, Sister had become increasingly weak, so her death came as a blessed release.

Clara Louise Schmitt was born in New York City on February 26,1897, the only child of William and Mary Schmitt. Clara’s mother died in 1911 after some years of very frail health, so that Clara spent much of her childhood in the home of her grandparents. She attended the local German parish school, The Assumption, and took a very active part in school and parish affairs. A number of friends made in these early days remained close to her all through her life. After graduating from grade school, Clara attended evening classes at Washington Irving High School, and later at Pratt Business School.

Clara’s interests were wide and her talents many. She took courses in sewing and in crafts. She was an avid reader. She developed an appreciation of the medical world when she observed and helped out in her father’s pharmacy. When her interests in athletics led Clara to the YWCA, she met new friends, among them a Protestant missionary, whose stories of mission work in China enkindled in Clara’s heart a yearning for a similar dedication. About this time, the Field Afar came to Clara’s attention with accounts of the recently erected missionary Sisterhood in Ossining, and Clara believed that for her, the finger of God was pointing toward Maryknoll.

She entered on September 7, 1920, received the name of Sister Mary Georgea at Reception, and made her first profession on August 4, 1922. During Sister’s novitiate days, Mother Mary Joseph became aware of her interest in pharmacy, and since the need for medical workers in the mission field was apparent, immediately after Profession, Sister Georgea was assigned to study pharmacy at Fordham, and received her diploma in 1924.

For the next three years Sister assisted Mr. Grubel in the pharmacy at Rosary House and then, in 1927 when the Maryknoll Sisters took over St. Paul’s Hospital in Manila she went with the first group to become the pharmacist, a position she faithfully filled until the Japanese War closed the hospital in 1945. Sister was interned with the other Maryknollers during the three years of the war, and then remained in Manila to help rebuild the destroyed works. Maryknoll College was the first Community effort, and Sister Georgea taught biology until 1948 when she was assigned to be the pharmacist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Manapla, Occidental Negros, remaining at this task for 20 years. She returned to Maryknoll College in Manila in 1968, this time to assist in the bookkeeping department. In 1972, after 45 years of mission work in “fields afar”, Sister returned to Maryknoll, and then went to Bethany where she could receive the medical care her failing health required.

During her many years as hospital pharmacist, Sister’s other talents were constantly called upon and generously bestowed. She taught in the nurses training school at St. Paul’s. She was an excellent organizer; the making of schedules frequently fell to her lot. She organized religious instruction programs and coordinated their implementation. She loved children, and the success of the social work projects carried out at both hospitals was in no small way dependent on her skills. She built up lending libraries, trained the choir at Manapla, and unfailingly held out a willing hand to help any of her many friends in times of need.

Sister was a good “Community” person, a delightful well—informed conversationalist who articulated her convictions in a forthright constructive way. She was a beautiful reader, and hence in great demand when the time for refectory classics came around. Her artistic sense and nimble fingers made her a welcome member of decorating committees.

We ask Sister’s family and her many friends whom she loved deeply, to join with her Maryknoll family in commending our dear Sister to God after her long life of loving dedicated service. We pray that our Heavenly Father will speedily welcome her into the fullness of her new life in His presence. It is especially appropriate that Father Robert Sheridan who knew Sister so well, can be with us to celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection for her.