Sister Macaria Schmidt

                    November 19, 1912  -  April 7, 2006

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Life Legacy

Sister Macaria Schmidt, 93, of Mother of God Monastery died Friday, April 7, 2006 in the Pierre Hospital. A Memorial Service was held at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 10, in St. Mary's Hospital Chapel in Pierre.

The Liturgical Wake Service was held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at Mother of God Monastery in Watertown.

Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2006, in the monastery chapel with Father Richard Ortmeier as celebrant. Burial in the Monastery cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Feigum Funeral Home in Pierre and Wight Comes & Sogn Funeral Chapel in Watertown.

Sister Macaria (Pauline) Schmidt was born in a sod house in Fayette, North Dakota on November 19, 1912. She was the oldest of four children of Ludwig C. and Catherine Jaeger Schmidt. Her father (30 years old) died suddenly during the flu epidemic of 1918. After her dad's death, her family left their farm homestead and settled in Dickinson, ND. Her mother took in laundry work to support the children. A year later, Pauline's baby sister died. In 1920, her mother married Lucas Butsch, a widower with three children, and moved to Richardton, ND. They were one happy family until 1921 when her 13 year-old stepsister died, followed a year later by her 7 year-old brother. To the second marriage three sons were born.
Following a disrupted first year of school, Pauline attended St. Mary's School in Richardton, North Dakota. It was there, she said, "That the grace of my vocation gradually became more of a reality and my desire grew more intense." After completing her freshman year at St. Mary's, she left home on June 7, 1929, to "embark on my new life as a Benedictine." With Sisters Euphrosina and Baptista, Pauline arrived at 3 a.m. on June 8, 1929, at Sacred Heart Convent in Yankton. She entered her novitiate on August 12, 1931, receiving the name "Sister M. Macaria". On August 15, 1932, Sister Macaria made her monastic profession. She became a founding member of Mother of God Monastery in 1961. She served on the Monastery Council and Board of Directors and was appointed Procurator-Business Manager from 1962 to 1964.
Sister Macaria's entire professional career was in the health field. She graduated from nurses' training in 1937. Until July 1938 she was night supervisor in the hospital. One day, coming off night duty, she was asked to go to surgical suite to observe Sister Donata administering anesthetics. It didn't take her long to realize that this was going to be a prolonged assignment. With an "on the job" training experience and a three-month's course in Anesthesia, she was sent to the hospital in Gregory, SD. In 1942, Sister Macaria was missioned to Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, where she was OB supervisor. During this time, she took a regular course in Anesthesiology, being the first student of the School of Anesthesiology to write the national exams for Nurse Anesthetists. Throughout her career, Sister Macaria worked in the hospitals in Yankton, Gregory, Parkston, Tyndall and Pierre, SD and in Canon City, CO and Cottonwood, ID. During the more than 40 years she spent in Pierre, she held two and sometimes three positions: O.R. and Outpatient supervisor, as well as staff anesthetist; OR supervisor, staff anesthetist, drug room and x-ray. She often covered night duty from 11 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., only to return to surgery, where she administered anesthetics from 8:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. After retiring from the Anesthesia Department in 1976, she completed a quarter of Clinical Pastoral Education and was instrumental in setting up the Pastoral Care and Inhalation Therapy Departments at St. Mary's. Sister Macaria remained active, volunteering her services wherever needed until this past summer, when illness forced her retirement.

Sister Macaria is survived by her Sisters of Mother of God Monastery and her nieces and nephews.
Date Time
Liturgical Wake Service - Tuesday, 4/11/2006 7:00 p.m.
Visitation Location
Mother of God Monastery - Watertown, SD
Date Time
Wednesday, 4/12/2006 11:00 a.m.
Service Location  
Mother of God Monastery - Watertown, SD

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Born: November 19, 1912

Death: April 7, 2006

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