Vocation Stories


Sr. Maureen Schrimpe, IHM

Sharing my story

As I reflected on this article as to what to say and even more on how to say it, I was a little overwhelmed. I was one of those individuals that did not Maureen Schrimpe Awardattend Catholic school other than CCD.

After college I took a job as a physical education teacher at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY. There I met Sister Mary Peter Doran and we became immediate friends. Over the course of my two years at St. Dominic's and many conversations with Sister Mary Peter, I thought it time to take the next step in my life. As I entered the convent in 1967, I had no idea exactly what I would be doing other than trying to be the best IHM Sister I could be. I asked Sister Mary Peter if she would be my sponsor and her answer was yes!

Sometimes, I think we start in one direction, but the path we follow takes us up and down many roads before we finally come to the point in our lives where we have found ourselves. That was the case for me. I thought I always wanted to be a physical education teacher. I loved sports so much, both as a participant and as a spectator.

When I entered the convent having worked in restaurants during and after high school and college, I thought why not try dietetics? I graduated from Marywood University with a BS in Dietetics and later attended classes in hotel restaurant management. I was beginning to really find myself. Originally I wondered how this area of ministry would fit into my life as a Sister. I had to learn some basic things life, don't waste food and follow my sense for getting the best price for the best quality. I tried to expand it even more as a faith witness in a seemingly secular occupation.

I began my career as director of dining services at Marywood University, a place that is still close to my heart. After many years I moved onto the University of Maryland where I have had multiple opportunities to spread my wings and share all that I had learned with the many individuals that cross my path daily. There I have a great deal of contact with students, who at times get a little upset once they have realize I am a Sister. They immediately apologize and show respect for who and what I represent. Almost daily I am, asked, "Why a Sister at the University of Maryland?" I always reply, "why not?" I then explain that I am able to support our elderly sisters, educate our young sisters by the ministry I do. They are often impressed that the IHM Congregation continues to share its life through its membership in varied ways as witness to God's loving presence in the world.

I certainly feel fortunate that our IHM Community encourages each Sister to spread her wings in her chosen profession. I am most grateful for that over the years that I have been able to attend and actively participate in many associations holding elected offices and as well as many national chair positions. Always, I've had the encouragement of the Sisters with whom I've lived, and the IHM Congregation leadership as well. I am not so sure all of this would have been possible without the support of my Sisters. I try never to take for granted what I have been given and always wonder what would have taken place in my life had I not entered the IHM Congregation.

I have gained much during my life as a Sister and am always willing to share what I have. This year I had the opportunity to meet my first Nobel Prize winner through my work at the University of Maryland. I was working with two interns who had created a peanut butter 'Nobel' sandwich and who invited me to present it with them to Dr. Schelling, the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize for Game Theory recipient. In addition, I have been asked to serve on numerous national companies panels, such as Campbell Soup, Chinet, Don Pepino Spaghetti Sauce, General Mills and Basic American Foods. I know that these companies have asked me because of what I know, but also because of the many opportunities the IHM Congregation has allowed me to experience, once again bringing a faith witness into places just by my IHM presence.

Aside from my position in the department of dining services at the University of Maryland, I am also involved in our local parish. I am the secretary to the pastor's advisory council, serve as a committee member on the parish diversity committee and attend events at St. John the Evangelist School.

As I was thinking about how to end this story, I received a phone call from a parent of a school student at St. John the Evangelist School. She asked if she and her son could come over to the convent to speak with me. The reason for their visit became the ending for my story here. This young man, Chris, had come to ask if I would consider acting as his sponsor for his upcoming Confirmation. I was honored and thrilled at this request. It once again affirmed for me that I am and all IHM Sisters are a presence of God in many different places in our world.

Sister Maureen currently serves as the quality coordinator/dietitian at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.

Hope for the Future

Schrimpe and Coll

Pictured L - R: Sisters Maureen and Marionette Coll