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In Memoriam: Sister Mary Bernard Lander, OSB

Headshot of Sister Mary Bernard Lander.

Sister Mary Bernard Lander, OSB
May 22, 1929 - December 21, 2019

Our sister, Mary Bernard, died as she lived:
quietly, peacefully and assured of God’s love.

Mary B, as she was affectionately called,
proved herself to be a woman of great strength.
Time and time again she was called upon
to embrace challenge and change
and she did it with dignity and acceptance.

She knew how to set down roots
in the places where she was meant to be,
and always found a way to do so
with grace and humor, wit and spirit.

The twinkle in her eye never seemed to go missing
and her quiet presence, so simple and so humble,
was a gift and a blessing to all.

May we seek to respond to our vocation in life
as Mary B. did so well:
with faithfulness and generosity,
dedication and definition,
so that in all things and all ways,
God may be glorified, now and evermore.

Sister Mary Bernard Lander, OSB, 90, died peacefully on December 21, 2019 at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

A native of Lucinda, Pennsylvania, Sister Mary Bernard was the daughter of Fred and Dorothy (Baurncratz) Lander. In 1945 she entered the Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph Monastery, St. Marys, PA, her community of origin. It was there that she made her first profession of vows in 1947 and her perpetual monastic commitment in 1950. When St. Joseph Monastery closed Sister Mary Bernard transferred her vows to the Erie Benedictines and was fully incorporated into the Erie community in 2015.

Affectionately called Mary B, Sister Mary Bernard was quick to tell people that she learned the importance of working hard and praying just as hard from her parents and from the Benedictine sisters who were her teachers in Lucinda. The sisters were the primary example of the religious life that she would eventually embrace. Through the years Sister Mary Bernard’s kitchen skills were used in the ministry of food preparation and cook in local convents and institutions in which the St. Marys’ Benedictines ministered. In time she took on the responsibility of farm maintenance, grounds keeping and recycling at their monastery. She was self-taught and proved herself more than capable of handling these important responsibilities faithfully. The twinkle in her eye and a wonderful sense of humor endeared Sister Mary Bernard to the Erie Benedictines where she found a home and a community in which to live her monastic commitment. At the time of her death she was engaged in the ministry of prayer and presence and she participated fully in community life until shortly before she died.

Sister Mary Bernard was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Sena and Vera (Ostrowski) and four brothers: Paul, Henry, Leonard, and Samuel. She is survived by her sisters Madeline Sowers of Clarion and Lillian Gathagan of Ashtabula, OH, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, the remaining members of her community of origin, and her Erie Benedictine community.

Services will take place at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery: Visitation, Friday, January 3, 2:00–7:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 4, 9:00-10:00 a.m., a Service of Memories on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be on Monday, January 6, at 8:15 a.m. in Trinity Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, Pennsylvania 16511. Brugger Funeral Homes and Crematory, Pine Avenue Branch, 845 East 38th Street, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511. Click here to offer an online memorial.