Obituary: Sister Marie Shields, SNDdeN
Cincinnati OH – January 7, 2020 – Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Marie Shields died December 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, OH, at the age of 81. A native of Chicago, IL, she was in her 64th year of religious life.
In 1958, Sister Marie began 14 years of teaching in parish schools in Ohio, most of them serving inner-city children. In 1968, with a Masters in Religious Studies, Sister Marie was missioned to Columbus, Ohio, beginning 51 years of service to the church in Columbus. In 1972, Father Jim Smith, the pastor at St. Christopher Parish, invited Sister Marie and Father Richard Huelsman S.J. to form a pastoral team to administer the parish. Her role included visiting the sick, taking Communion to shut-ins, helping with adult education, serving as a resource to the religious education teachers and preparing the special children’s liturgy each week. Sister Marie saw her work as simply helping and loving the people of the parish. The team approach was so effective that when Father Smith was transferred to Immaculate Conception Parish, and later St. Matthias Parish, Sister Marie and Father Huelsman went with him.
Sister Marie loved her work, and the parishioners loved her. She sparked parish support for a local food pantry and homeless shelter, for farm projects in Ghana and Ecuador, and for national social justice groups like Network, Pax Christi and Bread for the World. She started an initiative to collect new clothes for parishioners in an economically deprived part of the diocese, and connected the parishioners to the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur around the world.
It was in that loving heart of her good God that Sister Marie held the people who were a part of her life. Upon hearing that her illness had returned, she lovingly sent this message to the St. Matthias parishioners in August 2019: “I will forever remember you. My heart will be full of overflowing thanksgiving every day, all day long forever.”
Memorials on behalf of Sister Marie may be made to the Retirement Fund of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 701 E. Columbia Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45215.
1958-1959 – St. Paul Parish School, Cincinnati, Ohio
1959-1960 – St. Agnes Parish School, Columbus, Ohio
1960-1963 – St. Mary Parish School, Hamilton, Ohio
1963-1968 – St. James of the Valley School, Wyoming, Ohio
1968-1972 – Teacher, St. Christopher Parish School and Religious Education Director for K-12, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish, Columbus, Ohio
1972-1983 – Pastoral Ministry/Religious Education, St. Christopher Parish, Columbus, Ohio
1983-1991 – Pastoral Assistant, Immaculate Conception Parish, Columbus, Ohio
1991-2019 – Pastoral Assistant, St. Matthias Parish, Columbus, Ohio
2019 – Ministry of Prayer, Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
About the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are an international congregation founded in Amiens, France in 1804. In 2015, we celebrated our 175th year in the U.S., and our role in helping to shape the Catholic education system in the United States. Today, more than 1,100 Sisters of Notre Dame serve across the U.S. and in Belgium, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.