Sister Mary Virginia Schrempp, MM

Born: August 30, 1891
Entered: May 18, 1921
Died: April 19, 1971

During Holy Week Sister Mary Virginia Schrempp was admitted to Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles. Sister received the Sacrament of the Sick on April 13 and surgery was successfully performed that day. But at 4:00 a.m. on April 19 Sister had a shortness of breath and died very peacefully.

Sister Virginia’s nephew, Father Glennon Unterreiner, went out to Los Angeles from Missouri to concelebrate the funeral Mass with the Chaplain of Monrovia on April 22. Sister was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Los Angeles.

Philomena Schrempp was born in Perryville, Missouri on August 30, 1891. After graduating from the Ursuline Academy in St. Louis she attended Rubicam’s Business College. When she had completed her course at Rubicam’s she worked for three years with Dawson & Garvin, a law firm in St. Louis. In 1921 Philomena went out to Inglewood, California where a married sister lived. She had heard that she would find a convent of Dominican Sisters going to foreign missions in San Francisco. After a long and weary search for this convent she was advised by a priest to see Sister Mary Magdalen in Los Angeles. Although Philomena was disappointed in not finding a novitiate in California she happily made plans to travel east to enter Maryknoll at old St. Teresa’s Convent where Sister Mary Josephine Rogers was superior.

Sister Virginia was assigned to the Maryknoll Post Office as a novice. In 1944 she was named Postmistress and served in that capacity until her retirement in 1956, giving a total of 35 years of service to one of the vital areas at Maryknoll’s Center. Reflecting on this today one stands a bit in awe especially as you recall the famous smile of Sister Virginia over the years. Sisters in her group recall her beautiful simplicity; co-workers remember her generosity and her social graces in meeting and greeting the public every day at the post 0ffice. All of us look with pride on one of our “early day giants” and pray that the glories of her life now fulfill all her desires.

After retiring from the Post Office Sister Virginia worked part time in the Motherhouse sacristy and then went to St. Teresa’s Convent at Maryknoll, helping out in the sacristy and kitchen for three years. From 1960 to 1962 Sister lived in Chicago Chinatown and from there she made a full circle to complete her Maryknoll life where it had all started out in California. She was very happy working in Los Angeles, and the Sisters were delighted to have her with them. In 1968 Sister went to Monrovia where her health needs could better be taken care of and it was in that loving Community that she lived out fully the vocation she had chosen almost 50 years before.

As we pray for Sister Virginia and for her beloved family we are reassured of the words written in our 1970 Searching and Sharing: “We believe in the presence and power of the Lord who, through each one in community, enables us to adapt, change, respond and thus grow to full stature.