Franciscan Memories of Bishop Mark F. Schmitt

by Sister Julie Ann on December 18, 2011

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity share treasured memories of Bishop Mark ‘Francis’ Schmitt, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, ordained as Auxiliary Bishop and priest for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI, who died on Dec. 14, 2011  in DePere, WI. May the Lord bless you, Bishop Mark.

Sister Ludmilla remembers…

Bishop Mark was a great supporter of the Outreach Program as well as St. Vincent de Paul.  He always made sure that at Christmas he sent a check to help buy gifts for a family.

He also had a special liking for the Boxer breed of dogs.  Upon his retirement he was lonesome for a dog and he ask me to find a Boxer for him.  Lucky for him their was a lady in Palmer who bred boxers and she gave him a good deal.  He looked on Pal as his retirement dog.  When Sister David Marie was here at Christmas time helping out, Pal, the dog’s name, got sick and it was just too much for Bishop to take care of him and give him medicine so since David Marie was a nurse who better than to take care of Pal.  So Pal moved in with us and Bishop Mark would come to visit him daily.  When Pal died it took a great deal out of master.

In Bishop Mark’s retirement he worked as a spiritual advisor with Hospice for a lady in Big Bay.  After she moved to Marquette. Bishop Mark would visit her here.

Bishop Mark loved his home on Lake Superior and when his friends would come to visit from Green Bay he would invite us out to enjoy supper and of course Sister Joyce would make sure she would bring along something very tastey.

It was very hard for him to leave the Upper Peninsula.  He loved the outdoors and the beauty that it gives.

Sister Margey and Sister Lois remember…

The pastoral coordinators of the Diocese of Marquette (Sister Margey Schmelzle, Sister Lois Risch & Sister Colleen Sweeting) owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our well-loved Bishop Mark.  He had the vision & the courage to appoint women religious in the early 1980’s to be the pastoral leaders of small rural parishes in our diocese that may have closed without our presence & leadership.  The very first meeting I attended with the priests of the diocese & the three other pastoral coordinators at that time  – had me shaking in my boots!  But our Bishop Mark started the meeting by introducing us & telling the priests what our ministry would be like.  He certainly paved the way for us & continued to support our ministry in the years ahead.  Last year Sister Lois & I received a Christmas card saying “my decision to appoint pastoral coordinators was one of the best decisions that I made as bishop.”

We thank him forever & our people in our parishes are grateful that our Bishop Mark cared enough about them to provide pastoral leadership.

May he be enjoying his glorious reward.


We invite you to add your own memories of Bishop Mark.

4 thoughts on “Franciscan Memories of Bishop Mark F. Schmitt”

  1. Sister Colleen says:

    I enjoyed times at his cottage. Fr. Paul and the Bishop would invite us out. I enjoyed his dog, Pal, a Boxer. He was the nicest dog and a wonderful companion for the bishop. Sister Ludmilla took care of him when Bishop went away or on fishing trips. When he retired… the diocese gave him a fishing boat!

  2. Bishop Mark confirmed me when I was a junior in high school at St. Edward's in Mackville! I will always remember when he called me up to the sanctuary during the Confirmation Mass and asked me how I was going to live my commitment to Christ in the Church!

  3. I can not boast of knowing Bishop Mark, but I can testify that the Schmitt family is one awesome bunch. Cousin Father Leo was my childhood pastor. When his priestly brothers (yes, there was more than one of them) and his other brothers (renowed barbershoppers) would gather in one spot for a celebration, Bishop Mark added to the solemnity. Singing was their passion and faith was the foundation of their interactions with others. It was a joy to be present for Father Carl Schmitt's ordination. His 'yes' to God and the Church passed on this legacy of pastoral service to another generation.

  4. I have always heard great things about Bishop Mark and I did work with Fr. Carl  so I know what you mean about the gathering of the family and the gift of music. All the love that was/is passed on in that family is a real tribute to family life!

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