Girl’s letter honors her great-aunt — and all ‘nuns’

During the just-completed November Assembly of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the talk turned to “legacy” — of what a community of Catholic sisters leaves behind, but also what we as individuals leave as the imprint of our lives.

Sister Lila Marie Schmidt

And the timing was perfect: Sister Marcia Allen had received a letter addressed simply to “Sisters of St. Joseph” just a couple of weeks ago. It was two letters, actually — both carefully written in pencil, with “To the Nuns” on the outside of one and “To Aunt Lila” on the outside of the other.

We knew “Aunt Lila” as Sister Lila Marie Schmidt, who died two years ago (on Nov. 16, 2011). She was born in 1933, the eighth of 13 children born in a farm family near Pfeifer, Kan. She had entered the Sisters of St. Joseph when she was just 16, but she maintained close ties to her siblings throughout her life — as you’ll see.

So the first letter:


 Well, technically, we’re not “nuns;” we’re sisters. And our Motherhouse was originally a convent, not a monastery. But we knew what she meant.

We blurred Rachel’s last name just for privacy, even though she said she didn’t mind what we would do with her letter. Then Sister Marcia “read it to the rest of the nuns,” as Rachel instructed.

And we wanted to share it with you, too. This is a legacy worth knowing about:



One thought on “Girl’s letter honors her great-aunt — and all ‘nuns’

  • March 11, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I knew Sister Lila as Sister Fabian. She was a cook and housekeeper in the fifties and sixties at All Saints School and Convent in Gladstone, Michigan. I knew her as a very caring, loving and honorable woman. She was always very kind to me………and she made quite an impression on this 4th grader. One day, I was sick and she made tea and toast for me and sat with me on the stairs until I felt better. I got to know her better over the years and was a positive experience in my life while I wasa student at All Saints and then in the order. I honor and salute her…….and know she is with us always. I send love, prayerful hugs and healing energies to you through time and space………with my deepest gratitude!
    Thank you, dear Sister Fabian (Lila)! Betsy Gasperich/Sister Joseph Bernice

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