Franciscan Sister Chooses Mother’s Name

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

May 12, 2017

On this Mothers’ Day Weekend, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Natalie Binversie shares the thoughtful story of Sister Mary Josephine Schmitt’s selection of her religious name. To read the whole account, click here: Franciscan Sister Mary Josephine reflection

Emma Marie Schmitt was the youngest of ten children born to Frank and Mary Josephine (Leonhard) Schmitt on November 28, 1923.  She was baptized in St. Wendel Catholic Church in Cleveland, Wisconsin on December 2, 1923.

She grew up on a farm near Cleveland, Wisconsin with her parents, seven brothers and two sisters.  Religion was important in the Schmitt home.  Praying the Rosary daily and Lenten Sunday Devotions were a must.  The kitchen chairs were the pews.  Saturday morning Mass became part of the routine.  Emma always took eggs, fresh fruit or meat for the four Sisters.  Delivering these items always gave her an opportunity for an extra visit with the Sisters.

Emma had the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity as teachers at St. Wendel School.  She had Sister Concepta and Sister Olga for teachers. When she was in third grade Sister Berchmans died.  When Sister Concepta told the class she added, “Now we need someone to go to the Convent and replace her.”  Emma answered, “Don’t worry, I will.”  The following year there was a class play with a Sister in it.  Emma was chosen for the part.  Her Mom sewed a simple coif and complete habit.  Her Dad was pleased when he saw her dressed up since he always wanted one of his girls to be a Sister.  Her vocation was nurtured at home and at school so after she graduated from eighth grade she did leave home to become a Sister.

Emma entered Holy Family Convent on August 25, 1937.  As she was getting ready for Reception and thinking of name suggestions, Emma talked to Sister Concepta about wanting her Mother’s name, Mary Josephine.  Read More: Franciscan Sister Mary Josephine reflection

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