A funeral Mass for Sister Murl Margarett (Sister Mary Geraldene) Steffens will be celebrated Sept. 13 at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. Sister Murl died Aug. 28 at her home at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. She was 102 and had been a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 87 years.
Murl Margarett Steffens was born Sept. 30, 1919, in Hydro, a rural town in southwestern Oklahoma, the seventh of eight children born to Edward Anthony and Elizabeth Anita (Connolly) Steffens. When Murl was 6, her older sister Alice (Sister Mary Vincentia Steffens) had joined the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville; when Murl was considering becoming a sister, her pastor strongly encouraged her to find out more about the Sisters of St. Francis.
After spending the summer of 1935 herding cattle on horseback with her friend Ella, Murl left for St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City to learn more about the Sisters of St. Francis. She celebrated Christmas with her family, then entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville on Dec. 31, 1935. She received the name Sister Mary Geraldene, and she professed final vows on Oct. 4, 1941.
She studied at St. Anthony’s Hospital School of Nursing and became a registered nurse in 1942. She served as obstetrics supervisor, first at St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, Missouri (1942-51); then at St. Mary’s Hospital in Nebraska City, Nebraska (1951-63); and then at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Hannibal, Missouri (1963-65). She served for a year as assistant director of nursing services at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, then served two more years there as a nurse. She served in the infirmary at Mount Alverno Convent in Maryville (1969), then spent two years as an obstetrics nurse at Alverno Heights Hospital in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She returned to St. Anthony’s in Oklahoma City, first as a nurse in the outpatient clinic (1972-84) and then as assistant medical librarian (1984-90).
In March 1990, she moved to Arcadia Valley in Pilot Knob, Missouri, serving as receptionist and switchboard operator. She retired in 1991 and resumed the use of her baptismal name in 1993. She remained in Pilot Knob, helping with the household chores and visiting shut-ins and others until she moved to St. Mary of the Angels in 1996. She served as a congregational volunteer and was a member of the FSM Prayer Program. She moved to Naomi House at The Sarah Community in 2010 and was one of the first sisters to move from the motherhouse.
Sister Murl enjoyed sewing, knitting, writing and reading professional journals and newspapers. She also enjoyed spiritual books and literature. She spent her life trying to be the loving, healing, compassionate presence of Jesus to God’s people that touched her life.
Burial will take place at Resurrection Cemetery.