Benedictine Sister Theresa Schumacher, 80, died May 29 at St. Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud. The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday, June 3, at 4 p.m. 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 Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 4:30 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 Monday.
Sister Theresa (Mario) Schumacher was born June 6, 1938, to Arthur and Julia (Schmit) Schumacher in Chanhassen, Minnesota. She attended St. Benedict’s High School in St. Joseph and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in music and a bachelor’s degree in voice from the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph. At the University of Minnesota, she earned a master’s degree in music history with minors in voice and women’s studies, and at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, a master’s degree in theology and liturgical studies. Sister Theresa also attended the Aquinas Institute at Dubuque, Iowa, and St. John’s University in Collegeville.
She entered St. Benedict’s Monastery on Sept. 2, 1952, was received into the novitiate as Sister Mario on June 19, 1956, made first profession on July 11, 1957, and perpetual monastic profession on July 11, 1960. She reverted to her baptismal name in April of 1989.
Initially, Sister Theresa served in elementary education and music at schools in Central Minnesota: St. Anthony’s, Holy Angels and St. Paul’s schools in St. Cloud and at Luxemburg and Lastrup and taught voice at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. Subsequently, she served as liturgy coordinator for CSB campus ministry, liturgy coordinator for St. Benedict’s Monastery, novice director for the community and as liturgist for a year at St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul.
On returning to St. Benedict’s Monastery, she coordinated liturgy for the monastery, gave workshops and was a consultant in the areas of liturgy and spirituality at St. Benedict’s Monastery and at St. Benedict Center in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1999, she worked as an assistant to the dean and rector of Benedictine University College in Nassau, Bahamas. For many years, Sister Theresa gave spiritual direction, retreats and presentations, including a series of workshops in Australia (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) on the psalms and Liturgy of the Hours.
She also wrote book reviews, was choir director, organist and liturgy planner, and revised the community’s Liturgy of the Hours prayer books. A long-time member of the American Benedictine Academy, Sister Theresa served as president from 2006 to 2008, was a member of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research board and an active member of Bridgefolk, a Catholic-Mennonite group that celebrates each other’s traditions.
Sister Theresa is survived by the members of her Benedictine community, her brother Donald (Beverly); her sisters, Rose (Paul) Grengs, Julianne Neddemeyer, Alicia (David) Smith and Luella Sheridan; and brother-in-law Ronald Peppin as well as nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Richard, Ralph and Marvin; and her sister, Millie Peppin.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Benson Funeral Home, St. Cloud. Please direct memorial gifts to the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict Retirement Fund.