December 16, 1911 – October 22, 2011

“Serving Christ, Serving Others”

Sister Mercedes Martzen was born into eternal life on Saturday, October 22 at 7:35 p.m. at her home, the Monastery of St. Gertrude. She was 99 years old.

Clara Lucille Martzen entered this life on December 16, 1911, in Winona to parents who had immigrated to the Camas Prairie from Luxembourg. The second of four girls, she was strongly influenced by her mother’s faith and enjoyed helping with the family farm. She became Sister Mercedes when she made her First Monastic Profession at St. Gertrude’s in 1933.

Immediately after Final Monastic Profession Sister Mercedes was trained as a nurse and eventually specialized in labor and delivery. She worked at all the Sisters’ hospitals: St. Valentine’s in Wendell, St. Benedict’s in Jerome, and St. Mary’s in Cottonwood. Between 1957 and 1971 Sister Mercedes helped with 258 deliveries at St. Mary’s Hospital.

After 1971, she began focusing on home care for the elderly. She was also active in promoting the Hospital Guild and the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude. One of the most dynamic times of her life was when the religious community embraced the changes of Vatican II. “These changes have done something in our lives, made us a more vital people and a more vital community.”

Sister Mercedes enjoyed embroidery work, attending senior citizen meetings, and a good game of pinochle. She also treasured trips she took to Luxembourg, Rome, and Switzerland.

The focus of her final years was deepening her prayer life. “All through my life, God has worked in strange and surprising ways. All we need to do is leave it in his hands, let him work within us,” she said. “We can really serve Christ by serving others with our God-given talents.”

The Vigil Service is Wednesday, October 26 at 7 p.m. and the Mass of the Resurrection is Thursday, October 27th at 1:30 p.m. in the Monastery chapel at 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood. All are welcome.

Memorial Gifts in Sister Mercedes’ honor can be made to the Monastery.