Sister M. Bernadette Sneeringer, CSC

(July 17, 1919 - Decembr 21, 2012)

Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Bernadette (Sneeringer), who died at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, December 21, 2012, in Saint Mary's Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Sister M. Bernadette had many loves in her life:  the Blessed Mother, her family, her dear friends, the congregation (a high priority), travel, singing, dancing and playing cards.  What a full and joyous life she had.
Always generous and willing to accommodate, Sister Bernadette often would bend her own schedule to take sisters wherever they needed to go, be it doctor’s appointments, shopping, or visiting relatives or friends.  Her generosity extended to the use of her skills.  She did not believe in hiding her talents “under a bushel”; she shared them unselfishly.  Because she was a gourmet cook, her talents in that department made her a very popular house member.  There were no failures in Sister Bernadette’s kitchen, even though recipes were often tweaked or modified.  Not only did Sister Bernadette have skills in the culinary arts, she was a master seamstress.  The fine art of sewing was learned under the excellent tutelage of her mother who made all the clothes for the nine children in the family.  Sister Bernadette was quick to learn and soon was an able helper in keeping her brothers and sisters dressed in style.
Sister Bernadette’s teaching career began in the primary grades in the parish schools in the East.  She taught at this level for 11 years until 1952 when she found herself catapulted into the position of school principal and eighth-grade teacher, a startling fact that she graciously accepted.  Her ready acceptance was not a surprise since on an early congregational questionnaire she was asked to define her objectives over a five-year period and her response was: “I will do whatever work the community wishes me to do.”  Such was her faith and trust.  Evidently the Holy Spirit guided her in this new ministry because she had 35 years as a successful junior high teacher and administrator.
After having quadruple bypass surgery, Sister Bernadette gave up teaching to take charge of the religious education program of a parish in Virginia.  What was thought to be a less strenuous ministry turned out to be a huge undertaking, given the size of the parish and the transient nature of many parishioners.  But true to her great faith and unique sense of humor, she successfully administered this program for 14 years.
When asked if she like to travel, Sister Bernadette would almost reach for her suitcase and ask, “Where?” -- and travel she did.  She lists six countries she visited with her family on a 21-day tour of Europe:  Ireland, England, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal were part of the trip’s itinerary.  Her family also took her to Medjugorje in 1989.  Sister M. Beniti (Scanlon), her great friend of 60 years, traveled with her in the United States when they took tours to Alaska and to Hawaii.  These two friends also were frequent visitors to Las Vegas, Nevada, where Sister Bernadette’s luck never seemed to run out.
Even after retiring to Saint Mary’s, Sister Bernadette continued to have a zest for life and she enjoyed all of the activities designed for the sisters, especially a good card game which she loved to win.  Singing was another gift she shared.  She could sing all of the lyrics of any hymn or popular song; the Irish fight song was one of her favorites.  Her good humor and enthusiasm for life will be missed by all who knew and cherished her friendship.
True to her vocation, Sister Bernadette lived her life patterned after the quote from the prophet Micah, 6:8 -- “…to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”  She did all of this and now receives her reward.
Funeral arrangements for Sister Bernadette are as follows:  Reception of the Body and wake on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. with the Mass of Resurrection the same day at 1:30 p.m.  All of these ceremonies will take place in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto.  May Sister Bernadette rest in peace.


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