Leaving a legacy of good works

For some time, Sister Martha Bertke has been the last Precious Blood Sister to reside in Mercer County, Ohio, where the Community has had a strong presence since 1846. In December, Sister Martha moved from her home in Coldwater to Salem Heights, the Congregation’s central house in Dayton. Although Precious Blood Sisters are no longer residing in Mercer County, the Congregation sustains its legacy in the area through its history of ministry in many schools, parishes, health care settings and nonprofit organizations, as well as at St. Charles in Carthagena, and the Maria Stein Shrine and Spiritual Center.

Sisters Pat Gist and Mary Lou Schmersal moved from Findlay, Ohio, to Salem Heights last June. Findlay is in the Diocese of Toledo, which also includes New Riegel, where Sisters of the Precious Blood established their “Cradle of the Community” in 1844. Some of the Congregation’s first 10 foundations were located throughout the area, including convents in and around Glandorf and near Bellevue. Throughout 177 years in the area, Precious Blood Sisters contributed to the Church in many ways: parish ministry, diocesan services, housing management and food service, among other areas. Sisters Pat and Mary Lou were the last Precious Blood Sisters to reside within the diocese.

Top, Sister Martha Bertke; contributed photo. Bottom, Sisters Mary Lou Schmersal and Pat Gist; Sister Genny Volk photo

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