Sr. Mary Sharon Wedig, RSM, formerly of Benton Harbor, died July 7, 2019, at Mercy Circle in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 84.
She was born to Leo and Gertrude (Leary) Wedig in Cuba City, Wisconsin, on November 27, 1934, and baptized Mary Catherine. She and her six brothers and sisters attended local schools and helped each other grow in faith. Mary decided she would like to be a nurse and enrolled in Dubuque’s Mercy School of Nursing in 1953. She was attracted to become a Sister of Mercy and on September 7, 1954, entered the Mercy novitiate in Detroit, Michigan. After initial preparation and first vows, she completed her studies for nursing and made perpetual vows on August 16, 1960.
Sister Sharon’s early years of ministry were in clinical nursing at Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital, Detroit, and at Mercy Hospital, Port Huron, Michigan. Her next assignment was to earn a master’s degree in hospital administration at Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, and in 1967 she became assistant administrator at Mercy Hospital, Dubuque, Iowa.
She then served as president and chief executive officer at Mercy Hospital, Mason City, Iowa, and at St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her abilities in this capacity were recognized by all who served with her. A representative from Mercy Hospital in Mason City stated, “Sister Mary Sharon did not forget the purpose of brick and mortar. In a day when the term is largely out of style, ‘compassion’ is a word she frequently used, naturally and unabashedly in conversations about the hospital’s mission.”
When Sister Sharon completed her tenure in Grand Rapids in 1980, she chose to leave hospital administration and became an in-service coordinator for the staff at Claremont Nursing Home and Blossomland Nursing Home in Benton Harbor. This three-year ministry changed markedly when she was elected to be provincial administrator in 1983. At the conclusion of her eight years in this service, she wrote in her accountability report, “We have striven to work with province members, holding ever before us the call to maintain and treasure the faith dimension of our lives.”
Sister Sharon’s next ministry took her back to Benton Harbor, this time as administrative assistant to Sister Paulita Walters who had developed a preschool/parenting program to help end the cycle of poverty. This program, called the Readiness Center, needed staff assistance and Sister Sharon said she “would take on the paperwork so Sister Paulita could focus on her gift of teaching.” After twenty-five years in this capacity, she became a volunteer and continued to enjoy this until health issues caused her to move to Mercy Circle in Chicago where she would be closer to her family as well as the Sisters of Mercy.
Sister Paulita Walters, a close friend of Sister Sharon’s, said, “Her favorite ministry was being with the poor in Benton Harbor.”
Cherished memories of Sister Sharon include her concern for the poor, her deep trust in God, her unassuming manner, her quiet effectiveness and her ability to engage others in the mission of Mercy. She enjoyed being with her Sisters, sharing good conversations and community gatherings. She is survived by her brother Thomas of Belmont, Wisconsin, and her sister, Sara Klein of Cuba City, Wisconsin.
Funeral services were held at Mercy Circle on July 10. Sixty-seven members of her extended family and thirty friends from Benton Harbor as well as many Sisters of Mercy were present.