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Sister Mary Louise Herrmann, OSF


Sister Mary Louise was born on June 22, 1933. She grew up in her family home in Queens, N.Y., along with her parents and her three brothers and two sisters.

While visiting her sister, Sister Beth Anne, at the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore convent, she was edified by the Sisters and their work with African American children. She desired to join them in their ministry. She entered the congregation on September 8, 1951, and was professed on April 3, 1954.

She taught for 15 years on the elementary and high school levels. Her most delightful ministry took place in Coop City, New York. For two years, along with four other Sisters, she worked in parish ministry helping with daily Masses, religious education, and clubs, as well as taking the parish census.

Since Sister Mary Louise entered religious life to work with the poor, being able to spend 14 years at the Franciscan Center in Baltimore, Maryland, was very rewarding. At first, she worked with the staff and volunteers to provide needed services of counseling, clothing, noon meals, and a little children’s program for those in need. Eventually, Sister became the director of the Franciscan Center. Later, she was asked to be the treasurer of her congregation, as well as to work for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Baltimore.

In 2001, Sister Mary Louise celebrated her 50th Jubilee. It was the year that the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Today, she lives at St. Francis Convent in Wisconsin. Along with other Sisters, she is involved in outreach projects for those in need. She is grateful for the care she receives and enjoys the Sisters who live with her.

Shortly after moving into the convent, she developed major issues in both knees. Due to their severity, she now relies on a wheelchair. Getting to doctor’s appointments was a real challenge for Sister Mary Louise and other Sisters. They had two options: take a public transit van, which wasn’t always dependable, or use the convent sedan with staff carefully transferring the Sisters out of their wheelchairs and into the sedan. This was painful and cumbersome, especially for those with neck, hip, and other mobility issues like Sister Mary Louise. Because of this, Sisters resisted going to medical appointments.

Through the generosity of SOAR! and its donors the Sisters were able to purchase a wheelchair accessible van. This has made trips to the doctor easier, comfortable, and quicker. The Sisters have stopped putting off check-ups and visits. This in turn has improved their physical and emotional health and has led to increased participation in convent activities.

Sister Mary Louise can testify to how it has helped her. “With the van, I can stay in my wheelchair. I’m not frightened of falling, like I was when we had to use the sedan. Plus, it’s so family-like, with the same driver and another passenger. The van is set up so that my wheelchair is in the middle so I can be part of the conversation with the driver and passenger. Thank you SOAR!”

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