Passing of Sr. Mary Bader, November 19, 2009
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Sister Mary Bader. She died in her sleep on Thursday, November 19, 2009. A vigil service is set for 7:00 p.m. Sunday the 22nd and a Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday the 23rd, both in the Holy Family Chapel.
Sr. Mary Bader was 15 years old when she first entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth in 1932, according to her obituary, pronouncing her first vow in 1934 and her final vows in 1938. “She knew from a very young age what she wanted to do with her life,” Sister Joan McCabe said. “I’m sure at a very young age she never knew all the challenges and opportunities. ... I think she never envisioned all of that.”
Sr. Mary saw the good in every person and was generous with her talents, say her friends. As a nun, one might consider those traits requisite, or a given for one who takes a vow promising self-sacrifice. But, no, they say, Sister Bader was particularly gifted. “She had a great sense of trust in God and in her fellow human being, too,” said Sister Irene Waldmann, “and that’s why she attracted so many friends because everyone was good as far she was concerned.”
“I’ve known Mary for over 50 years,” said Sr. Joan. “One of our founders said go out into the city and go into the four corners and see what the needs are, and that’s what motivated Mary to do a lot of what she did. “She was an innovator; she helped create new things.”
For years, Sr. Mary was an educator. She earned an undergraduate degree in French from Nazareth, a master’s degree in French from the University of Notre Dame and a second master’s degree, in theology, from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame. She taught in several schools of the congregation, according to her obituary, including schools in Detroit and Flint, but also at Nazareth Academy, here in Kalamazoo.
Sr. Mary was president of Nazareth College from 1962 to 1974, shepherding the college through the turbulent years of the Vietnam War when student protests were common. Sr. Irene and others recalled how Bader understood some students’ passionate stance against the war, but encouraged them to channel their activism by volunteering for local causes. “She marched with the students down Gull Road and out to WMU and joined the protests out there. She was very world-minded,” Sr. Irene said. Sr. Mary was inspired to develop ways to help where she saw need and her faith made her approachable to her students, to laity and to people in the greater community.
Sr. Mary was involved with the Ministry with Community throughout its 31-year history, known for serving lunches on Thursdays during many of those years. She recognized that everybody had God-given gifts, including those in line for soup as well as the volunteers she worked alongside, said Judy Markusse, former executive director of Ministry with Community. “She was humble, gracious and put Christ’s call for us to serve each other very seriously.”
Sr. Mary was among the sisters who in 1985 developed the Bethany House, a shelter for abused and homeless women. She lived at the house for 15 of its 24 years, ministering to women who came to live there. “She was a person of great hope, and she was able to see the beauty in other people, and I think that’s what people recognized,” said Sr. Joan.
October 2009 Board Meeting Information
Our October meeting welcomed new officers to the Association - Michael Coleman as President, Anne Marie Scrhopp Bradley as Vice President, Dan Barrett as Secretary and Joyce McNally as Treasurer. We acknowledged the work of outgoing board members Charlene Theisen Durfee and Sr. Irene Waldmann and welcomed new board member Pricilla Swiat. Dates for our 2010 meetings were set, as well as Spirit Day 2010. We passed the proposed budget for 2010, made committee assignments and established the new Nazareth History Project Committee, who's mission is to preserve the history of the schools of Nazareth.
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Gift to the Association
The Association was notified after the passing of Marian Hankerd that she named the Association as a beneficiary in her will. We are very grateful to Marian for remembering the Association in her estate planning. Because of her gift, and the others we have received, the Association has been able to move to a more stable financial position and increase our good work.
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