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A look at the life of Sister Mary Edwin Werner

Sister Mary Edwin Werner (second from right) with members of her family, including (from left) brother Chet, and her father Edwin and mother Elizabeth.

There is something special about going over to the Archives Department to obtain sister information for Throwback Thursday blogs.

And we’d like to personally thank Elizabeth Kolar for suggesting this week’s sister.

Elizabeth emailed us asking about a possible Throwback Thursday blog on Sister Mary Edwin Werner. In the email, she said “For many years, she helped manage the logistics of the annual summer homecoming and was an excellent teacher besides.”

Sister Mary Edwin was born Mary Catherine Werner on Oct. 28, 1915, to Edwin and Elizabeth Croghan Werner. A native of Indianapolis, she graduated from the St. John Academy before attending and graduating from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

While she did not enter the Congregation immediately, she maintained contact with many sisters and did enter on Jan. 21, 1940, professing first and final vows on Aug. 15, 1942 and 1948, respectively.

Sister Mary Edwin taught for many years at schools in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.

She taught at Providence High School in Joliet, Illinois, from 1954 to 1957, and also taught at Providence High School in Chicago from 1958 to 1966.

She also taught at Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in addition to Immaculata in Washington, D.C.

Sister Mary Edwin also ministered at the Providence Retirement Home in New Albany, Indiana, before coming home to the Woods in 1967. She officially retired to the ministry of prayer in 1985.

In her commentary for Sister Mary Edwin, Sister Ann Casper said she taught mainly business and commercial classes.

Sister Ann added that Sister Mary Edwin was “remembered for not tolerating typing errors, erasures or ‘strike overs.’”

Sister Mary Edwin, according to the commentary, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her early 20s and lived with significant pain for most of her life.

According to Sister Ann, after she was diagnosed, Sister Mary Edwin said “No wonder I feel as if I’m starched,” to which a sister she was living with at the time gave her the nickname “Little Argo.”

Sister Ann also explained a bit more about “the logistics of the annual homecoming,” stating “Usually, nearly 1,000 sisters came to the Woods for the summer to teach or attend classes, to assist in offices with other duties. Each of those sisters had to be assigned a bedroom, a place to eat meals; a place in chapel … the lists went on and on! Also, if any sister had physical needs or dietary restrictions, accommodations had to be made. All of this before computers and excel sheets! Sister Mary Edwin had index card files galore and directed many sisters who were assigned to help her.”

Sister Mary Edwin died on January 7, 1988. She was a Sister of Providence for 47 years.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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3 Comments

  1. Kevin Ridge on August 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Where in Massachusetts did Sister teach?

  2. Elizabeth Mary Werner on August 15, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Dear Jason, Elizabeth and Sr. Ann Casper.
    Thank you for this lovely article about Sister Mary Edwin. I knew her as Aunt Mary. I loved and admired her for her strength and sense of humor. My family always looked forward to visiting her at The Woods. I love the photo you found. I have never seen this photo of my grandparents and Uncle Chet. Again, thank you for choosing SME for your article. Sincerely, Beth (SMWC class of 01)

  3. Joseph Edwin Werner, Jr. on December 20, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Dear Jason and Sr. Ann Casper,
    I just happened to come across the picture and your article about my aunt Sister Mary Edwin. My father was her oldest brother. I had the great fortune of meeting Sister Mary Edwin twice in the early 1960s on family vacation to Indiana. Just like Beth, I have never seen this picture. I went to grade school at St. Joseph’s in Hawthorne, CA (1955 – 63) and Sister Mary Edwin set up a pen pal program with students in one of her classes. Thank you so very much for your article and memories of my aunt. Joe

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