Sister Mary Fabian Schneider retired at age 99 after working as a receptionist for the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls for 32 years. She was feted at a gathering and received the blessing from those who know and love her – sisters, family, friends and employees.
Named Pelagia at birth and called Polly, Sister Fabian was the fifth oldest child in her Polish family; six brothers and one sister followed in birth order – and she is the oldest living Franciscan Sister. She attended a one-room country school where she received her elementary education.
She became a Franciscan Sister in 1934, 80 years ago. She ministered at St. Otto’s Nursing Home and St. Cloud Orphanage and taught children in various parishes in the St. Cloud Diocese. She served for 16 years as a housekeeper for Bishop Peter Bartholome in St. Cloud. One of her treasured memories is a 10-day trip to the Holy Land, a gift from the Bishop.
Until her move to Little Falls, Sister Fabian lived in Flensburg with other Franciscan Sisters where she taught religion, sang in the choir, visited shut-ins and assisted her living group with household tasks.
As Sister Julien Dirkes emceed the retirement party, she said, “You, Sister Fabian, in your quiet and giving way have been a witness and example to us of how to grow old gracefully, prayerfully, gently and joyfully.”