Sister Maria Elisabeth
June 3, 2013
Maria Regina Province, Coesfeld / Germany
Date and Place of Birth: May 30, 1937 Düpe-Steinfeld, Germany
Date and Place of Profession: March 20, 1959 Coesfeld
Date and Place of Death: June 3, 2013 Vechta, Marienhain
Date and Place of Funeral: June 7, 2013 Vechta, Marienhain
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine“. (Is. 43.1)
We believe that this assurance given by God has now come true for Sr. M. Elisabeth: God has
called her by her name and she has found her home in Him, the merciful and good God, who stills
all our longing for eternal life.
Sister Maria Elisabeth, Gertrud Stärk, was born as the daughter of Peter and Anna Stärk in DüpeSteinfeld, in the county of Vechta. There she spent her childhood with 3 brothers and 6 sisters.
After finishing the middle school for girls of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Lohne, she entered our
congregation in Coesfeld on May 8, 1956.
From 1959 – 1961, Sr. M. Elisabeth was trained as a kindergarten teacher in Coesfeld and from
1972 – 1974, she studied social education at the technical college of higher education in Vechta.
She ministered as principal in different nursing schools, from 1981-1989 in the kindergarten St.
Josef in Essen (Oldb.). She fulfilled this task with competence and enthusiasm. Her great creativity,
commitment, and inventiveness characterized her work and impressed the people who met her and
whom she cared for. Parents and colleagues appreciated her expertise and her sense of
responsibility; she always treated the children with esteem and empathy. Religious education and
the transmission of faith were the most important in her ministry.
After the years of her ministry in nursery schools, Sr. M. Elisabeth committed herself to adult
education in the Offizialat Vechta. From 1989 – 2003 she gave courses, ongoing formation and
retreat days for educators and other occupational groups. Due to her artistic and creative skills, she
succeeded in passing on the Christian message here, too, in many different appealing and
From 2003 until the diagnosis of her Alzheimer’s disease, she served in the sacristy of the church in
Marienhain. Her ways of decorating the church showed again and again her manifold creativity
During all these years and as long as her strength allowed it, her engagement in the Kreuzbund
(Alcoholics Anonymous) was an important ministry for her that left its mark on her. With great
enthusisam and interest she committed her strength and a lot of time to various groups in the
Oldenburger Münsterland. She actively participated in weekends for those affected and their
families, initiated them and organized the program. Due to her own experiences she could gently
turn to many people and be a competent and engaged person to talk to.
During the last months and weeks, the physical condition of Sr. Maria Elisabeth changed noticeably.
Her mental and physical abilities were failing more and more. After a four weeks’ stay in the
hospital, she did not recover any more and three days later, on the afternoon of June 3, God called
her into his kingdom where she may now experience his eternal goodness.