Dominican Sister of Peace Melita (Shirley) Bearinger, (90) died on January 31, 2020, at the Mohun Health Care Center in Columbus, OH.
Born to Edna Laird and Victor Bearinger in Turtle Creek, PA, Sister Melita entered the Congregation in 1946. As a young woman, she was drawn to work in Foreign Missions. Although she never ministered outside of the United States, she served those less fortunate throughout her religious life, and especially as a volunteer in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Sister Melita earned her BS in Elementary Education in 1957 from Saint Mary of the Springs College and her MA in Elementary Education in 1962 from De Paul University. For thirty-seven years she ministered as a teacher and administrator in Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Sr. Melita’s ministry took a new turn after meeting Sr. Grace Pilon, SBS, creator of the Workshop Way system of education. She devoted herself to the methodology that allowed her to focus on the growth and personal development of her students. She worked with the group for 3 decades, first as Business Manager and later as a licensed consultant, proofreader, and member of the Task Force.
Her work with the Workshop Way brought her to New Orleans, which also made a huge change in her life. She loved the South and the city of New Orleans in particular. She was grateful for the opportunity to show her love for her adopted hometown by volunteering for Lantern Light Ministry, which served those returning to the city after Hurricane Katrina.
Sr. Melita returned to Columbus in 2017, where she served her Sisters at the Columbus Motherhouse. She began her final ministry of prayer and presence at the Mohun Health Care Center in 2019.
Sister Melita was preceded in death by her parents, Victor L. and Edna Laird Bearinger, her brother, Victor J. and her sister, Mary Louise Dietz. She is survived by several nieces and a nephew.
A Vigil of Remembrance Service was held on February 20, 2020, at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel
The funeral liturgy was held at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse Chapel on Friday, February 21, 2020, followed by burial at St. Joseph Cemetery by Egan Ryan Funeral Home.
Memorial gifts in Sr. Melita’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219.
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