Humble, caring, hard working
Edward and Esther (Nennenkamp) Schniedermeier, of St. Louis, Missouri, welcomed their first child, Audrey, on April 14, 1927. Eventually, daughters Marlene and Patricia completed the family. Audrey attended St. Cecilia’s School, staffed by Sisters of St. Joseph. Secondary education was received at St. Joseph’s Academy, located on the Fontbonne College campus.
Audrey entered Carondelet on September 15, 1945. Sister Edward recalled:
Well, we were a very lively group. They did not expect the 35 or 36 of us to enter ... The group before us was only 12. [There were not enough capes or collars], so for about two weeks we went back and forth to Carondelet Park and played around.
On March 19, 1946, she received the habit and name Sister Edward Cecilia—Edward after her father and Cecilia after her parish. Her teaching ministry began in Missouri elementary schools: Valle, Ste. Genevieve (1948); St. Anthony of Padua, St. Louis (1951); Sts. John and James, Ferguson (1955).
I was with her from 1950 to 1955 … in the Boys' School [St. Anthony]. We called her "Eddie." Eddie was lots of fun! We loved teaching all boys, and challenging them. Eddie was always interested in others; we had a large community ... teachers for two elementary schools and a high school for girls, [and] … elderly sisters living with us.
—Sister Roberta Houlihan
After receiving her degree in Latin (1958), Sister Edward Cecilia was assigned to Little Flower High, Chicago, Illinois. The rest of her full-time teaching ministry continued to be in secondary education: St. Teresa's Academy, Kansas City (1971); Roncalli (1975) and Cathedral (1988), both in Indianapolis, Indiana. While she was teaching at Little Flower, she received the American Classical Association grant to study at the American Academy in Rome for a summer. This gave her the opportunity to actually see the places she was teaching about. One highlight of the trip was going to Castel Gondolfo and seeing Pope Paul VI.
Also at Little Flower in Chicago, Sister Mary Ann Hilgeman remembers Sister Edward “as a sister with a good sense of humor. I know she was a good teacher. The students’ nickname for her was ‘Sarge.'"
Sister Pam Harding recalls:
I was so pleased to get to know Sister Edward Cecilia. I lived with her in 1969 at Little Flower High Convent for my, what was then called, “associate” year. She was so supportive as I began learning about life in community and what that meant ... We were both foreign language teachers, she Latin and me French. We enjoyed sharing the stories of being in a foreign language classroom ... Following the … novitiate I was missioned at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City. Sister Edward was sent there the same year. In both places we shared the duties in the kitchen, planning menus and overseeing the cook ... We would spend Saturday mornings trying to find a good bakery ... compared to the one in her home neighborhood, the St. Louis Bakery, nothing could match it. So, every time we drove to St. Louis we had to come back with many baked goods for the sisters and would freeze a number of them for special occasions.
By 1992, Latin had faded from the high school curriculum. Sister Edward became a substitute teacher for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. For 10 years she went wherever there was a need either in grade or secondary classrooms until she retired to Nazareth Living Center in 2002.
I only knew 'Eddie' from Nazareth Living Center. What I admired most about her was each semester while she lived in Gleason Hall, she sent a check for tuition aid to Roncalli High in Indianapolis and to St Joseph’s Academy, St Louis. This was very important to her. It was a delight to watch her mellow. —Sister Pat Dunphy
Sister Helen Oates