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Articles in this newsletter:
Requiescat in Pace: Sr. Maria Mechtilde
Reflections on Anima Mariae
Photo Slide Show (separate web page)

Our Apostolate of Prayer
Send intentions for Sisters’ Novenas

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Graveside prayers for Sr. Maria Mechtilde at Holy Rosary Cemetery

Alternate version: PDF Format

Winter 2011

Dear Friends,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

On September 30, at about 9:00 in the evening one of our beloved Sisters in Christ, Sister Maria Mechtilde, was called to meet her divine Bridegroom. She was 78 years old. Sister always told us that she wanted to “die in her boots” and this she certainly did. Although she had not been feeling quite up to par that Friday, Sister followed the convent schedule, which included preparing for the upcoming Fatima Conference and a choir practice for the Sisters’ concert. How shocked we were to receive word during night prayers that Sister was dying from a heart attack! Almighty God took her to Himself quickly, but not until she received the consolation of the Last Sacraments.

Sister Maria Mechtilde and her First Communicants at St. Mary's Parish in Tacoma Sister Maria Mechtilde with one of her First Communion classes.
Children St. St. Mary's Parish surprise Sister Maria Mechtilde with roses Students surprise Sister Maria Mechtilde with roses on her feastday.

Sister Maria Mechtilde, Magdalen Mary Spenner, was born in Nebraska in 1932, the eldest of sixteen children. Hers was a late vocation to the religious life and it was not always an easy adjustment for her. Yet she was an example to all of us by her constant docility and humble conformity to the will of God shown to her by her superiors, who were for the most part much younger and inexperienced.

Sister’s duties in the convent were varied, and included cooking for over 60 boarders, sewing, household duties and teaching. She was assigned to several of our mission chapels and schools through the years: Omaha, Rathdrum (City of Mary) and Tacoma. It was at St. Mary’s in Tacoma that Sister spent over 15 years working in the parish and school, teaching kindergarten until she was no longer physically able to continue. She also prepared the young for their First Holy Communion, promoted the Block Rosary and took care of the parish gift shop and bookstore. Her no-nonsense approach, empathy, common sense and rock-solid dedication to the will of God won the respect and love of all. Many came seeking the benefit of her wisdom and experience and they never left her disappointed.

    Sister Maria Mechtilde wasn't afraid of cleaning fish “But Sister, St. Peter and some of the apostles were fishermen...”

In 2010 Sister was called back to Spokane due to age and declining health. At first she lived with the younger Sisters at the Novitiate. Sister was able to share some of her wisdom and experience with these young religious and they in their turn were able to “spoil” her a bit in her last years. In the summer of this year she made her final move to the Motherhouse, being with us only a few short months before God called her home.

As I was going through Sister’s things after her death, I came across the following prayer she had written out. This beautiful and inspiring prayer sums up Sister’s life better than the words any of us could write about her. And the beauty and inspiration comes not so much from the words of the prayer itself but the fact that Sister Maria Mechtilde was truly a living example of these words to all who knew her.

My Ways and Your Ways

O Lord Jesus, teach me, by Your example, to accept whatever the Father sends me, never discouraged, be the cross what it may. Give me strength and grace to sanctify myself in the situation where Providence has placed me, and never to desire any other. May His will be done in me, as it was in You, forever and ever. Amen.

Continuing Our Reflections on the Anima Mariae Prayer

  Anima Mariae

Soul of Mary, sanctify me.
Heart of Mary, inflame me.
Hands of Mary, support me.
Feet of Mary, direct me.
Immaculate eyes of Mary,
look upon me.
Lips of Mary, speak for me.
Sorrows of Mary, strengthen me.
O Mary, hear me.
In the wound of the Heart of Jesus,
hide me.
Let me never be separated from thee.
From my enemy defend me.
At the hour of my death call me,
And bid me to come to thine
Immaculate Heart;
That thus I may come to the
Heart of Jesus,
And there with the saints praise thee
For all eternity. Amen.

­—The Reign of Jesus through Mary
Gabriel Denis, SMM

Ask the Sisters to pray for you during their daily prayers andweekly holy hour

Our Apostolate of Prayer

Are you worried about a loved one? Is there a problem that is weighing heavily upon your heart? Send in your intentions, and the Sisters will commend them in their prayers and Masses, especially during our upcoming Novenas:

Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Jan. 15)
   (Novena - Jan. 6-14)
Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb. 11)
   (Novena - Feb. 2-10)

As we conclude the month dedicated to assisting the souls in purgatory, it seems fitting that we have come to the section of our prayer which reads, “let me never be separated from thee.”

Surely the souls who undergo their expiatory time in purgatory cannot be more separated from their Heavenly Mother than they were on earth. In fact, since the souls in purgatory are confirmed in grace, they can be certain they will never again wound that Immaculate Heart which has been pierced so often by their ingratitude and forgetfulness of her divine Son. Soon their temporary separation will be forever ended when Our Lady comes to escort them herself to the throne of her divine Son.

And what of us, poor banished children of Eve?

From my enemy defend me.

Here we are, back at the season of Advent again, when we recall the awful fall that made us Satan’s, one and all. From that enemy of our salvation, our Blessed Lady, the New Eve, terrible as an army in battle array, will without doubt defend us. Mother of our Savior and our Mother, His Might is in thy hand — or maybe rather in thy heel? Apocalyptic Queen, saved beforehand by the Blood of thine own Son from the thralldom of that very enemy, O Immaculata! Save us now who cry to thee in our turn. Let us also never be separated from thee.

During Advent we see Mary bearing Jesus within her chaste womb — an ineffable symbol of the even more real and transcendent union of her soul with her God. She reminds us that this union is the end for which we are all created. Draw us after thee, O Mother, to be united with thy divine Son, in our Christmas Holy Communion, and in the eternal bliss of which it is the pledge.


December 8

  Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculata’s feastday
Sr. Mary Loretta’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Novena: Dec.

Christmas Concerts at the Bing Theater
Christmas Day; Sr. Marie Emmanuel’s feastday
January 1

  Feast of the Circumcision
Sr. Mary Genevieve’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Novena: Jan. 6-14)
Rev. Mother’s Feastday
Sr. Maria Ines’s feastday
Sr. Giovanna Marie’s feastday
February 1
  Sr. Mary Bridget’s feastday
Purification BVM (Candlemas)
Sr. Mary Agatha’s feastday
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (Novena: Feb. 2-10)
Sr. Mary Bernadette’s feastday
Sr. Marie Jacinta’s feastday
Ash Wednesday
March 4
  Sr. Maria Kazimiera’s feastday
Mother Mary Dominica’s feastday
Feast of St. Joseph; Sr. Mary Josephine’s feastday
Annunciation BVM

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Anima Mariae is the free quarterly newsletter of the CMRI Sisters.
To join our mailing list, or to send comments, questions, prayers intentions or donations, please write or email:

St. Michael’s Convent
8502 N. St. Michael’s Rd.
Spokane, WA 99217
Phone: (509) 467-0986 ext. 123
Fax: (509) 467-1177
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