The Mass of Christian Burial for Sr. Marita Schweiger, OSB, 90, of Norfolk, NE will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at the Immaculata Monastery Chapel. Reverend Allan Stetz will be the celebrant. The visitation will be on Friday, March 5, 2021 from 3:00 until 4:30 p.m. at the Immaculata Monastery Chapel. The wake will begin at 7:00 p.m. Burial will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Norfolk. Guests are welcome and are asked to wear masks. Arrangements are under the direction of Home for Funerals in Norfolk.
On September 22, 1930, August and Elisabeth (Reid) Schweiger of Munich, Germany, welcomed into their family their fourth child, Hildegard Elisabeth. Her father had a wholesale business in Munich in which her mother helped to operate. Hildegard had a happy childhood even though it was hard under the Nazi regime. Because of the war her school years had many interruptions. At one point the bombings in Munich were so fierce, her parents agreed for her to live with a school mate in the country where there was less danger. Intense sadness came upon the family when her two older brothers were killed during World War II.
She stated once that she owed her vocation to her maternal grandmother, who was her baptismal sponsor and was regarded as a saint by Sr. Marita’s mother. Hildegard entered the convent in Tutzing, Germany, on September 15, 1953, and became a postulant on March 21, 1954. As a postulant she was sent to the priory in Norfolk, Nebraska, USA, and arrived on April 7, 1954, where she made her first profession on January 13, 1956. During her years of temporary profession, she was allowed to continue her university studies and so was able to graduate, “cum Laude” from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Then followed final profession on May 6, 1959. She was a very qualified teacher and taught in the schools in Madison, Winnebago, and Assumption Academy in Norfolk as well as holding the position of principal in Winnebago from 1965-1969.
Sr. Marita’s mission assignments included teaching in the High School in Inkamana, South Africa, while also being dormitory mother to the girls. This was a time of “apartheid,” so the tensions were intense as the students were black South Africans and the school was situated in “white” territory. Here Sr. Marita served faithfully from 1969 to 1984. This was followed by one year in Rome studying theology at Regina Mundi College. In 1986 she was again assigned to the community in Norfolk, Nebraska. By her own request she no longer taught in school, but worked in the convent as sacristan, seamstress, organist, and as visitor to the elderly in the nursing homes and private homes. She spent years as a volunteer to pack clothing for the missions for the Orphan Grain Train. One of her enjoyable works was translating for the Alexian Brothers some of their Chapter documents as well as their Constitutions from English to German.
Sr. Marita was devout and prayerful, always trusting God’s care for her. Her love of prayer was expressed through her commitment to personal and communal prayer as well as her faithful service in the monastery schola and as organist for the community until 2018.
While in Germany on home leave in 2010, Sr. Marita had a bilateral knee surgery. Although this surgery limited her activity, she continued with her visits to the elderly once she returned to Norfolk. Then in May 2019, she needed hip surgery and, after a six-month rehabilitation in the nursing home, she had increasing difficulty so needed the wheelchair for walking for long distances. Even with these difficulties she remained joyful and was able to join in the community activities and prayer. She always enjoyed a good game of Canasta and had a ready laugh. Sr. Marita was peaceful in old age, ever grateful for the care she received.
Sr. Marita died peacefully in the monastery infirmary on March 4. She was proceeded in death by her parents, two brothers and one sister. Sr. Marita is survived by her beloved cousins and friends, as well as her community of Missionary Benedictine Sisters.
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