sister marie getz


May 1, 1915 - January 4, 2010

Despite lifelong physical difficulties, Sister Marie Getz exhibited a joie de vivre, joy of living. Always mentally alert, direct, honest, a good listener and a lover of stories, she exuded optimism. Blessed with creative talents, she used these to bring joy to others, whether it was playing the piano at community sing-alongs or nurturing plants.

S. Marie was an accomplished seamstress and a good cook, although sometimes a little heavy on the dill and bay leaf. She frequently reproduced American impressionist Ted DeGrazia's works in petit point or watercolors. S. Marie did this until her nerve conditions made it impossible.

A dedicated teacher, S. Marie willingly helped students but expected them to practice their shorthand and typing. Her high school teaching days took her to Negaunee and Marquette, Mich., as well as to schools in St. Louis. Prior to instructing high school students, she had been an elementary teacher for nine years.

When she retired from teaching, S. Marie became the secretary at Fatima Parish rectory in Florissant, Mo., a ministry she held for 15 years. She loved this job! She had a great working relationship with the pastor even to the point of chiding him for his smelly cigars.

After she moved to Nazareth Living Center in 1999, her prized possession was her scooter. S. Marie was mobile again! On fine days, if you could not find S. Marie in her room or outdoors on her scooter, you would find her in the chapel.

Traveling, especially to the southwest, was one of S. Marie's greatest joys. She loved visiting national parks or historic places such as Santa Fe, Taos and Chimayo in New Mexico.

I often remarked that we seemed to be on a pilgrimage because we visited so many historic churches. Our travels continued even though S. Marie progressed from holding my arm, to a cane, to a wheelchair. Even with her disability, she claimed she was fortunate that she did not suffer from arthritic pain.

S. Marie could strike up a conversation with anyone. On our last trip we were stranded for a week in Road Forks, N.M., a desert town comprised of few buildings. S. Marie made friends with the waitresses, the border patrol agents, the bookstore clerk and the hotel management while I negotiated with the garage mechanics to repair our van.

Her family held a special claim on her time and heart. She researched her genealogy and typed and distributed it to family members. For years, her sister, Gert, was her personal beautician. Her brother, Bernard, always looked after his two sisters. He was a faithful weekly visitor to S. Marie, bringing flowers to delight her.

S. Marie claimed to be shy but could fire up. At one time a motor vehicle clerk decided that S. Marie should not be driving. The clerk based her judgment on watching her walk. S. Marie was so angry over this that she got a doctor's written statement, hired a lawyer and went to court in order to get her license renewed. S. Marie won! She said that as she grew older she realized she needed to stand up for herself. There are many who can attest to the fact that she did-sometimes with great spirit.

S. Marie loved the Eucharistic celebration and, when incapable of attending, watched it on TV. As the years passed, her conversation revealed her desire to be with the Lord. She prayed often throughout the day using the special prayer book that she had put together. It contained some of her favorite prayers interspersed with pictures of family and favorite scenes from the southwest.

She now enjoys all beauty to the fullest.

S. Jeanene Yackey

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