sister mary philip bieg
December 14, 1919 - January 25, 2011
Sister Mary Philip Bieg was born on December 14, 1919, in St. Louis, Mo. Her parents, August and Adella (Bugger) Bieg, raised 15 children in their 10 room home located in St. Anthony’s parish. They named her Loretta Johanna and had her baptized at St. Anthony’s just one week after her birth. This large family (maybe an introduction into large community living for the future) was very involved in all the activities of the parish and school, and it was there that Loretta met the Sisters of St. Joseph. While the seeds of her vocation had been planted early by her family, she did not follow a religious vocation until she was almost 23 years of age.
Loretta entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1942; the following March 19, she received the habit and name S. Mary Philip. Her active ministry was twofold. She began by teaching, but then also worked as a medical records administrator.
Completing her novitiate, S. Mary Philip was assigned as a teacher, first at St. Francis de Sales High School in Denver, and then at St. Leo’s in St. Louis; St. Cecilia’s in Peoria; and St. Luke’s in Richmond Heights. Studying for her degree in medical record library science occupied her for one year beginning in 1954.
In 1956, with degree in hand, S. Mary Philip became medical records administrator at St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood, Mo., and then held the same post at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City. She stayed in these roles until 1965. While in Kansas City, she assisted, directed and supported many young women who, at the time, were studying at Avila College to get their degrees in medical records. She was justly proud of their achievements.
Beginning in 1965, S. Mary Philip resumed teaching, but in 1968 she started pursuing a master’s degree in education from St. Louis University. While studying, she spent most of her time in St. Louis living at St. Anthony’s Convent and/or teaching at the parish high school.
From 1976 until 1990 she had the unique responsibility of working as secretary for the LaSalette Fathers at their provincial house in St. Louis. They appreciated her skills—she was accurate in all she undertook—but they especially valued her faithfulness in keeping confidences.
The last 13 years of her active ministry were at Carondelet where she served as the health care claims coordinator. Anyone who knows anything about health care knows how tedious that work can be. Yet S. Mary Philip, gracious to all sisters who called her, ably put them at ease while listening to their concerns. S. Mary Frances Johnson, who worked closely with S. Mary Philip in the finance office, said, “She met the challenge of organizing the office and then proceeded to take care of the health care claims for over 300 sisters. Her efforts saved the province hundreds of thousands of dollars in her 13 years in this position.”
Finally at the age of 86 Sister retired and began her ministry of prayer and witness at Nazareth Living Center. Besides having time to read, reflect and pray, she continued to enjoy being with her family who always included her in their weekly card playing and annual events. The Bieg family is truly BIG and S. Mary Philip faithfully kept up with them as she was able. To anyone who asked about her family, she happily explained relationships while pointing to the family picture hanging on the wall in her room.
A person of good humor during her life, S. Mary Philip died as she lived, in obedience to God’s will for her. No more tedious paper work; no more need to push herself; no more frustration. She is at peace and able to enjoy the Holy Family and the members of her earthly family who have gone before her. May she rest in peace.
S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Rita Louise Huebner