Entered Life: July 31, 1933
Entered Religious Life: September 8, 1952
Entered Eternal Life: December 29, 2019
“I am your reed, Sweet Shepherd, glad to be.”
Maria Bierer, IBVM was a daughter of Mary Ward who, early in the 17th century, was already convinced that women needed to be educated and said, “Women, in time to come, will do much.” Maria did do great things … quietly, with grace and a keen mind. She was born in Chicago and entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8, 1952. Maria respected liturgy – which she called the “work of the people of God.” She delighted in good food, nature, books and music, and she loved her dear family and her IBVM Community.
Of her numerous talents and interests, teaching and music were primary for Maria. Her teaching career began at St. Francis High School, Wheaton, IL, while also working to obtain a master’s degree in Theology and Applied Music. She then taught and was principal at Loretto High School, Sacramento, CA. Maria once said, “I always loved teaching, especially the high school students in my Religion and English classes. “Here,” she said, “was my time to teach students to love learning.” While teaching at Loretto, Maria produced numerous professional-level musicals and plays that are fondly remembered. Maria also taught many of her IBVM Sisters and volunteers the art of creating Garden Galas on the beautiful grounds of our beloved Loretto.
After several years of teaching, Maria became Director of Worship for the Diocese of Sacramento where her love of Liturgy and music were gifts to many.
Ministry to her IBVM community always held a priority, so Maria returned to Wheaton to become the Director of Development. Her continued service led to several leadership positions. She was elected General Councilor for North America and then General Superior. When the reunion of the Irish and North American Branches took place, Maria went to Rome as a General Councilor to assist with the transition. She also accepted the very important task of coordinating the revision of the IBVM Constitutions. As a retired Sister, Maria continued to share her wisdom, grace and kind words with many family and friends and will always be remembered for her warmth and hospitality.
The words on the back of her Memorial card are from one of her favorite Jesuit poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, who wrote,
“…. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his.
To the Father through the features of our faces.”