Celebrating a Century
The Centenarian Group at Nazareth Court and Center/St. Francis Home welcomed its newest member on March 25, the 100th birthday of Sister Mercedes Geib. In 1922, Sister Mercedes was born in Barton, Wisconsin, one block from the original motherhouse. Throughout her ministry in Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, and Ohio, Sister Mercedes was a musician; a primary, intermediate, junior high teacher and principal; a liturgist at St. Agnes Convent, and a Director of Religious Education.
Before retiring to Nazareth Court and Center in 2013, Sister Mercedes spent 20 years in Ohio, 16 of them in Circleville where she was a member of St. Joseph Parish. She was very active in the “Ministry of Neighboring” and well-loved and known for her smile, her caring, her wholehearted hospitality. On her 80-Year Jubilee in 2021 and on her birthday, she received dozens and dozens of cards and messages from the parish wishing her God’s blessing.
I was honored to be missioned with Sister Mercedes for the 20 years she lived in Ohio. We had our differences, our ups and downs, but she was a blessing to live with. We have many stories to tell. She loved the water and the outdoors, water skiing and camping well into her 80s and convincing me to join her. We once made a Wilderness Retreat in Pennsylvania, in a campground with no hook-ups—no water, electricity, or facilities—in a tent. We were with eight other sisters and a Retreat Director. It was a wonderful retreat except when our dog, Happy, ran into a porcupine and got a chin full of spines. With the nearest veterinarian clinic more than 60 miles away, I was tasked with extracting the spines from his jaw while Sister Mercedes tried to hold him down. She was praying and crying, but Happy just looked at her with trusting eyes.
Sister Mercedes is an example of resilience, the ability to spring back, to find creative and flexible ways to move forward with grace and dignity. Like all of our elder sisters, whom I refer to as the “wise ones,” she has true grit because they never give up or lose hope.