The funeral Mass for Sister Mary Marcella of the Sacred Hearts of
Jesus and Mary (Sister Marcella) Schopper, OCD, was to be celebrated Feb. 1 in the Carmel of St. Louis monastery’s Chapel of the Precious Blood in Ladue. Sister Marcella died Jan. 25. She was 97, and a Carmelite for 70 years.
Born in Eudora, Kansas, on the feast of All Carmelite Saints in 1922, Sister Marcella and her twin sister, Dolores, grew up on a farm where they rode a pony named Polly, picked strawberries and gathered potatoes, and learned to hive swarms of bees. They studied nursing in Kansas City and in St. Louis. Sister Marcella considered active apostolic religious life before discerning that she, like her twin, was called to the cloistered contemplative life of Carmel. She found herself attracted to the Carmelite life of prayer for others.
Sister Marcella entered the Carmel of St. Joseph in St. Louis in 1949, a little less than a year after her sister Dolores, who took the name Sister Dolorosa. Sister Marcella made her first profession in 1951 and her final profession in 1954. She fulfilled her life of prayer through faithfulness to daily Mass, daily eucharistic adoration and devotion to the Holy Rosary. Sister Marcella strongly believed that prayer had no limits as to time or place and could reach to the ends of the Earth.
Both Sister Marcella and Sister Dolorosa continued to use their nurses’ training to care for sisters in the community. In addition, the twins excelled in crafts and needlework. Sister Marcella was a talented artist, with some of her devotional drawings still used today. She made innumerable hats, pot holders and baby booties. Sister Marcella kept beehives, and with Sister Dolorosa’s help they produced gallons of honey each year. The monastery still has the beehives today.
Sisters Marcella and Dolorosa celebrated their golden jubilee together in 2000, then travelled to Carmel in Salt Lake City, Utah, to assist the community there for several months. Sister Dolorosa died in 2010.
Burial was to be at Calvary Cemetery.