Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Mass of the Resurrection, 10:30 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
Sister Mary Pius, CSC
(Margaret Isabel Schreiner)
December 31, 1931–November 12, 2023
We share news of the death of Sister Mary Pius (Schreiner), CSC, who died at 1:55 p.m. on November 12, 2023, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Mary Pius entered the Congregation from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1949. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1952.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith… if it is teaching, then teach” (Romans 12:6-7). Sister Mary Pius (Schreiner) was graced with the gift of teaching and a love for children. For 60 years of her life in community, she was a passionate teacher of God’s children in schools throughout the East Coast of the United States.
Margaret Isabel Schreiner was born shortly before the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as the world prepared for 1932. Margaret and her siblings, Frank and Anna, were children of German immigrants, Pius and Margaretha (Kulle) Schreiner. She was named after her mother, as Margaret is the English form of Margaretha.
As a “good, sensible girl who was not afraid of work,” Margaret was always willing to help a person in need. She attended St. Joseph School as a child and Sacred Heart Academy for high school, both in Lancaster. The Holy Cross sisters who taught Margaret at the academy made a significant impression on her. She entered the Congregation at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, on July 26, 1949, only a few months after graduation. Upon reception of the holy habit on August 15, 1950, she received her religious name, Sister Mary Pius. She took her father’s name, just as she had her mother’s at birth.
Sister Mary Pius taught in parochial schools, starting with Holy Trinity School in Norfolk, Virginia in 1952. Her ministry in education would take her to elementary schools in Alexandria, Virginia; Greenbelt, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Riverdale, Maryland. Furthering her own education, she graduated from Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966. Sister Mary Pius spent more than 20 years back in her hometown of Lancaster. She initially taught second grade at St. Anthony of Padua School and then served as parish catechist from 1997. She ministered with the school and parish in a variety of ways, even after the school merged with another to become Resurrection School. Eventually she transitioned to being the parish sacristan. And as a eucharistic minister, she served elder individuals, the sick, and homebound until 2002. From there, she retired to the motherhouse at Saint Mary’s.
After transitioning to the motherhouse, Sister Mary Pius was the sacristan at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame until 2012. She would prepare for scheduled and private Masses at the basilica. She also held responsibility for the upkeep of the Log Chapel and ensured it had the necessary linens. Working with the Notre Dame student sacristans was a joy to her. She developed a rapport with them and would join them at the bowling alley. In her own words, “they keep me young.”
Outside of Sister Mary Pius’ ministry at the basilica, she volunteered with her dear friend Sister Carmel Marie (Sallows), CSC. They regularly volunteered at the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka, Indiana, and would take Communion to residents of the Holy Cross Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in South Bend, Indiana. In 2012, she transitioned to full-time ministry of prayer after 60 years of service in education and to her community. She continued to volunteer at the hospice and rehab centers, as well as assist in the convent wherever help was needed. Sister Mary Pius died peacefully at Saint Mary's Convent on Sunday afternoon November 12, 2023. The sisters had sat vigil with her for only a few days when this gentle woman slipped away on a crisp, sunny autumn day.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.
Written by Madisen Toth, archivist
Sisters of the Holy Cross Archives and Records