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Sister Mary Schaefer

NORTH CANAAN — Sister Mary Schaefer (formerly known as Sister Bernard Mary), 91, entered fully into God’s embrace on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at St. Mary Home in West Hartford, Conn.  

She was born Sept. 4, 1929, in Torrington. Her family moved to North Canaan in 1934. Mary was the daughter of Anna McCafferty and George J. Schaefer. 

She entered the sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy in 1947 in Baltic, Conn., and professed final vows in the Motherhouse in Tilburg, Netherlands, in 1952. 

Having been educated at Annhurst, Catholic University of America and Fairfield University Mary shared her ministerial gifts in teaching, Administration and counseling for more than 60 years. She lived in East Haven from 1962 until entering the Nursing Home in 2014. Mary was the founding principal of St. Vincent de Paul School, East Haven, from 1963 to 1969. She assumed leadership in the SCMM Province in 1969 and continued teaching and counseling at St. Vincent’s until 1978. The next phase of her ministry was to join the Notre Dame School Community in West Haven from 1978 to 2012.

Mary had a special gift of understanding individuals and gently guided him/her to believe in themselves and strive to reach for their own potential. People to this day describe Mary as loving and gracious. We, SCMMs, say she epitomized the spirit of our congregation as she always strived  “to bring God’s loving Mercy” to all she encountered. She will be remembered for always giving her all. She was deeply attached to her loving family and friends; her North Canaan hills; and our Congregation.

Mary is survived by her brother, Joseph M. Schaefer of West Haven; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews and grand-nieces and -nephews, mostly living in the Greater North Canaan area; as well as her religious community in East Haven and Chicago and our International congregation centered in the Netherlands. These communities owe her a large debt of gratitude for 70-plus years of service. She was predeceased by her parents; and her brother, George W. Schaefer.

The SCMMs are very grateful for the care and concern Mary received during her six and a half years at St. Mary Home, especially to the Sisters of Mercy and staff at Baggot Street and Day Care Center and recently from the VNA Hospice Care staff. 

Funeral services are postponed until a later date due to COVID and are in the care of Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home in East Haven, Conn.

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