On January 27, 2020, Sister Mary Vernon Bick, age 93, entered into her eternal home while a resident at the Ursuline Center in Toledo. Born to John Bick and Nellie (Hassen) Bick, Sister was the second of six children. She attended Gesu School and Notre Dame Academy in Toledo. She was an Aspirant for two years before entering the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1944.
Sister had a genuine love for little children and an understanding of them. A teacher of children in the primary grades for 48 years and a principal for two years in elementary schools of the Toledo Diocese, Sister Vernon embodied the highest qualities of outstanding teaching. The motto “For God Alone and the Child” characterizes Sister Mary Vernon’s life. Treasuring the uniqueness of each child, she helped form children’s strengths and encourage their creativity, abilities she also shared by mentoring other teachers. Teaching at Lial Catholic School in Whitehouse, Ohio, Sister brought the love of nature into her classroom during her 26 years in active ministry as a teacher and aide there. Her beautiful smile, gentle manner, and listening heart drew sisters and family, students, faculty and parents to love and cherish her dearly.
Another of her loves was the Lial campus. She loved Sisters Maria Aloysia and Maria Ignatia for whom Lial was named. She loved the nature enveloping her surroundings at Lial and rejoiced with the Creator of such explosive beauty. She could name trees, ferns and flowers, and Sister Mary Vernon knew most of the birds that populated Lial by sight and bird-song. With the help of a naturalist, she discovered yellow Trillium on Lial property, not found growing naturally in any other place in Ohio. Her heart was saddened when the Lial convent was destroyed in 2007, and it was with great joy that she returned as a resident to the newly built SND Center in December 2015.
Sister Mary Vernon had a great love of the Eucharist as she prepared many children for their First Holy Communion. She also loved to pray. She said once that prayer books were fine, but she had a hard time looking into a book with so much beauty surrounding her.
Even though she loved traveling each year to visit her family in Florida, ministry was a priority. In 2011, when our sisters in New Orleans, Louisiana, needed assistance during the school renovation after Katrina, Sister Mary Vernon, at age 85, volunteered to help for two and a half years.
If Sister Mary Vernon found Lial so beautiful, how enthralled she must be now in the Beatific Vision and in all that heaven holds. May she enjoy her new eternal life and may she smile many blessings upon each of us and upon the Notre Dame Congregation.