Sister Mary Paula Beierschmitt, I.H.M.

Sister Paula Beierschmitt, I.H.M., formerly Marianna Beierschmitt, died Sept. 28 in Mary Immaculate Convent, Philadelphia, in the 55th year of her religious life. She was 72 years old.

Born in Ashland, Pa., Sister Paula entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1958 from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and professed her vows in 1961.

She taught school in various grades in up-state Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. In 1984 Sister Paula pursued further studies at various sites including the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She was commissioned by the Pallottine Fathers to sculpt a bust of their founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, for the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

For her IHM Community, she sculpted “The Handmaid” and “The Missionary,” a likeness of Father Louis Florent Gillet, the order’s founder. Sister Paula was the founder of the American Academy of the Sacred Arts in Philadelphia.

The funeral was celebrated Oct. 3 at Camilla Hall, Immaculata. Father William E. Dean was the celebrant and homilist. Concelebrants were Fathers Joseph Kelley and Gerald Dennis Gill.  Deacon Leonard D. DeMasi assisted.

Sister Paula is survived by members of her religious community; a brother, Karl Bierschmitt; two sisters, Paula Luskus and Regina Bierschmitt; several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand- nephews.