Sister M. Estelle – Elsie Irene Schrampf
1934 – 2005
Last Friday, Sister Estelle had a routine heart test in preparation for eye surgery. Her doctor immediately scheduled a stress test, which was followed on Tuesday by a heart catheterization. Yesterday she underwent surgery for a quadruple bypass. The attending physician assured her that she was an excellent candidate for this procedure. Sister received the sacraments and mentioned to several sisters that she might wake up in heaven. Sister Estelle was in surgery for 11 hours and, despite the best efforts of the medical team, her heart surrendered to the call of Jesus, her Lord and Master.
Estelle grew up in the shadow of the MSC Sisters who taught in her home parish of St. Peter’s in Coplay. Sister completed her high school studies after her entrance into the congregation. While pursuing her college degree, Sister was assigned to teach in various parish schools. She was very much loved and appreciated by her young students whom she served for 16 years.
However, her deepest desire was to serve the elderly and in this ministry she excelled and found much joy. The staff and residents of Holy Family Manor in Bethlehem, where she served as a secretary and ward clerk, were dear to her heart and no extra service or act of kindness was ever too much for Estelle. Her heart was truly expansive; no wonder that it burst asunder during yesterday’s surgery.
Sister Estelle’s fifty years as an MSC were marked with much personal suffering and heroic efforts to reach out in love and compassion to others. Her deteriorating vision and difficulty walking led her to retire from her ministry at Holy Family Manor. Last month, Estelle joined the community of Sacred Heart Villa. She was eagerly awaiting eye surgery and anticipated with joy the opportunity to serve our elderly and frail sisters.
Sister Estelle’s sudden death is a powerful reminder that indeed we never know the day or the hour that God will call us to Himself.