Sr. Stephanie Schroeder OSB

Sr. Stephanie Schroeder, age 91, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery, died December 7, 2023, at St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Sr.  Stephanie was born September 25, 1932, in Windthorst, Texas, to Ben and Sophia Humpert Schroeder and she was named Florentine Lucy.  She was the fifth child of eleven born to the Schroeder family.  Sr. Stephanie entered St. Scholastica Monastery as a candidate on August 29, 1951, joining her sisters, Sr. Barbara and Sr. Marietta, as a Benedictine.  She was given the name Mary Stephen but later changed her name to Stephanie. Following her novitiate, Sister Stephanie made her first profession on June 24, 1954, and her final profession on June 24, 1957.  Sister Stephanie was gifted in teaching and providing spiritual direction. She loved parish ministry. She spent many years as the liturgist for the monastic community. Her love of the liturgy was a part of her life until God called her home to life eternal.   Her ministry as a teacher took her to Paris, Atkins, Fort Smith, Russellville, Brinkley, Rogers, and Clarksville in Arkansas, and Moberly and Lebanon in Missouri for many years. In Springfield, Missouri, she taught for two years, then became a Pastoral Minister and Director of Religious Education.  Sister Stephanie was Vocation Director from 1989 to 2002. She was the Liturgist and Sacristan for thirty-five years at the monastery. She accompanied people as a certified spiritual director.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Avila College in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970 and her Master of Pastoral Arts and Liturgy from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, in 1979.  Sister Stephanie continued learning throughout her life in many programs, including The Institute for Retreats and Pastoral Ministry,  Formation in Ministry of Monastic Spiritual Direction, Healing Trauma, Gifts of Prayer and Spiritual Direction, Understanding Teens, Parent Effectiveness Training, RCIA for Catechumens, and Benedictine Conferences for Vocations and Formation.

Sister Stephanie was known for making delicious coconut cakes, snacking on raisins and fig newtons, and tending to the monastery rose garden. Her hobbies included crocheting, listening to classical music and symphonies, and playing various card games. Sr. Stephanie was a gentle, creative, and approachable person. She loved taking quiet walks in nature and possessed a lovely singing voice.  She truly knew what it meant to live the Benedictine life as she often guided souls in discernment for their life call and as a spiritual director. She was dedicated to her family, faithfully keeping in touch with family and friends through letter-writing and telephone calls.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, Clarence Schroeder, Elmer Schroeder, Raymond Schroeder,  Brother Leonard Schroeder, OSB, of Subiaco Abbey, and Sisters Barbara Schroeder and Marietta Schroeder, OSB.  She is survived by her sisters, Sister Regina Schroeder, OSB and Mary Rose (Schroeder), and her husband, Bob  Lehmann; her brothers,  George and his wife Ann Schroeder;  Bernard and his wife Emily Schroeder, her sister-in-law, Anita Schroeder; many beloved nieces and nephews and the members of her Benedictine family.   A Vespers Service will be held on Friday, June 28, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.  The Funeral Mass will be Saturday, June 29, 2024, at 10:30 a.m., with Father Jerome Kodell, OSB, as presider and Fr. Joseph Chan, chaplain, as concelebrant. Both services will be at St. Scholastica Monastery Chapel, with interment in St. Scholastica Cemetery Columbarium at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Scholastica Monastery Continuing Care Fund, 1315 S. Albert Pike, Fort Smith, AR 72903.