Sister Mary Elizabeth
Many years ago, God called a young girl. She opened her heart and has spent the last 55 years in His service. That girl is now our Sister Mary Elizabeth.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Schrei, S.C. has been the Pastoral Associate at Saint Bede since 2002. Her work is vital in the daily functioning of the parish. “I love working for the Church through the parish,” Sister says. Her responsibilities are numerous. Sister prepares new parents for Baptism and students for First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation. She also helps families with the difficult task of planning a funeral Mass.
Each year Sister teaches and prepares catechumens and candidates for entrance into the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). “RCIA is the most rewarding work. It enriches me every year,” she says.
Sister Mary Elizabeth grew up in Sheraden in the West End of Pittsburgh. She attended Holy Innocence grade school and Elizabeth Seton High School. During these years, the Sisters of Charity taught her, served as her role models and ultimately, influenced her decision to be a religious sister.
She entered the Sisters of Charity community at 18. She earned an undergraduate degree in education from Seton Hill College, a Master’s in reading and language arts from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master’s in administration from Duquesne University.
Over the years Sister worked as a teacher. She taught language arts to middle school students in Pittsburgh, Altoona and Maryland. Sister says that her greatest enjoyment from teaching is, “meeting former students, seeing their successes and knowing that I had made a difference in their lives and where they are today.”
Sister also served as principal at Sacred Heart, Saint Pius X, Saint Clare of Assisi and Holy Trinity. The job of principal brought its own challenges and rewards. She had to be innovative, especially when introducing new ideas and programs to the teachers and students. Sister says that it was rewarding, “being part of the education team to help parents in their primary role of providing a Catholic education for their children.”
After a year’s sabbatical spent in Dover, Massachusetts, Sister decided not to return to school administration or teaching. When she returned to Pittsburgh, the position for Pastoral Associate was open at Saint Bede and she accepted it.
God continues to bless Sister and her work here at Saint Bede. “I am enriched and blessed by interaction with the parishioners through liturgy, sacramental preparation and involvement, walking with those who are discerning whether they want to join the Catholic Church (and) being available to those who have lost a loved one.”
“As long as God gives me health of mind and body, I will continue to serve.”