September 2009: SISTER MARIE NEIER (entered eternal life on September 14, 2015)
Before administering anesthesia, Sister Marie Neier gently stated to the patient that she was going to offer a prayer: “My Jesus, I love you; My Jesus, have mercy on me; O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.” Within seconds, the patient was asleep after hearing these comforting words and seeing the love of God in the eyes of this nurse.
Her ministry as a Hospital Sister of St. Francis has spanned more than 50 years of service as an anesthetist. “What I loved most about my work was reassuring the patient that they were safe and to trust in us,” she added. A timeless message, it is her prayer now that those who carry on the mission remember their role in bringing Christ’s healing presence to others.
Life in Missouri
Marie Magdalene Neier was born on November 20, 1920 in Washington, MO, to August and Rose (Zwicke) Neier. She is the oldest of 10 children in a family who knew what it meant to be together. “We were so close – we prayed together, shared meals together, and had lots of fun together including playing baseball in our back yard. I preferred to be the pitcher,” she added.
She was inspired by the Notre Dame Sisters at St. Francis Borgia Grade School and High School and hoped to one day be a teacher. However, after a summer in the kitchen at St. Francis Hospital (Washington, MO – sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis from 1927-69) she was inspired. “I observed the Sisters’ compassion and knew this was how I wanted to share my life,” Sister Marie said.
Life of service for others
At age 17, she entered religious life with the Hospital Sisters on February 2, 1938. She finished her high school education at the convent’s St. Francis Aspirant’s School. “Every step of the way, I trusted in God and knew that whatever happened in my life would be what God wanted for me.”
Sister Marie spent her ministry in the surgery departments of sponsored hospitals in Illinois (Lincoln, Belleville, and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Green Bay). She also served at St. John’s Hospital as the Clinical Director of the School of Anesthesia for ten years. A graduate of St. John’s School of Nursing, she also holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Quincy University, post graduate studies in anesthesiology from St. John’s Hospital, along with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University, and a master’s degree in biological sciences from Sangamon State University.
“Always turn to God and have faith. With God you are never alone,” she concluded.