Benedictine Sister Merle (Florentine) Maerz, 94, died Feb. 9 at St. Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud. The Eucharist of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Friends may call at St. Scholastica Convent on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 3 to 4:15 p.m. with a prayer service at 3 p.m., or for a vigil prayer service at 7 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Monastery. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Thursday, Feb. 16.
The fourth of Anthony and Theresa (Laumeyer) Maerz’s five daughters, she was born Dec. 17, 1928, in Long Prairie. She attended St. Mary’s Grade School and High School in Long Prairie and St. Benedict’s High School in St. Joseph. In 1980, she received her GED diploma from St. Cloud Area Vocational Technical High School in St. Cloud, and in 1981, she received her certificate of completion for the dietetic assistant course from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
On Aug. 26, 1945, she entered St. Benedict’s Monastery, was received into the novitiate June 17, 1947, taking the name Sister Merle, made first monastic profession July 11, 1948, and perpetual monastic profession July 11, 1951. She celebrated her golden jubilee July 11, 1998, and her 60th anniversary of profession in 2008.
The domestic arts and hospitality were the foundations of Sister Merle’s ministry. Her first assignment was in White Earth, Minnesota, teaching sewing, weaving and home economics. She then served as a supervisor in the cafeteria at the St. Cloud Hospital before moving to St. Mary’s Mission in Red Lake, Minnesota, where she worked in community housekeeping. In 1964, she was asked to serve with the sisters in Ogden, Utah, where she was food supervisor at St. Benedict’s Hospital for 15 years.
On returning to Minnesota in 1979, she served for five years as director of food service at St. Raphael’s Convent in St. Cloud. Sister Merle also served in food service at St. Scholastica Convent in St. Cloud, as well as receptionist and nursing assistant. At St. Benedict’s Monastery, she served in hospitality as receptionist and as the guest house assistant. She moved to St. Scholastica Convent in 2014 where she undertook a ministry of prayer and community living.
In addition to the sisters in her Benedictine community, Sister Merle is survived by her sister, Betty Schenk (+Robert). She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters, Bernice (Albert) Weinmann, Josephine (Romaine) Host, and Benedictine Sister Leanne (Lucille) of St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul.
Please direct memorial gifts to the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict Outreach Ministries.