Sister Mary Arlene Menz, SSJ, age 94, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on March 19, 2020. She was in the 73rd year of her religious life. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on November 10, 1925, the daughter of the late Arthur and Marie Kloecker Menz, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Joseph Parish in Erie, PA, on February 2, 1948, professed her final vows on August 15, 1953, and celebrated 60 years of religious life in 2007.
I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from God, to testify to God’s grace. Acts 20:24
Sister Mary Arlene graduated from Villa Maria Academy, Erie, PA, in 1943 and continued her education at Villa Maria College, graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She furthered her education at Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA, where she earned a Master’s degree in education/social studies in 1971. Sister Mary Arlene extended her studies with additional history courses at St. Bonaventure University, Olean, NY, and Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA.
From 1948 to 1977, Sister Mary Arlene taught at Holy Rosary, Blessed Sacrament, St. Andrew, and Our Lady of Peace elementary schools in Erie; St. Mary, Reynoldsville; St. Brigid and St. Agatha in Meadville; and St. Francis High School in Clearfield, PA. During the summers, Sister Mary Arlene taught part-time at Villa Maria College. From 1977 to 1994, she taught and ministered at Villa Maria Academy, Saint Vincent Health Center in the Dietary, Pharmacy and Finance Departments, and at the Villa Maria Center. From 1994 to 1997, Sister Mary Arlene volunteered at the Erie Historical Society, Villa Maria Academy, and the Erie City Mission. She retired in 1997 and resided at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center.
Reflecting on her teaching ministry, Sister Mary Arlene always spoke about her love of history; she felt privileged to have been blessed with the versatility to have taught at every level, from first grade through college.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Arlene Menz and Marguerite Bengel, and by a brother, John. She is survived by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania and extended family members.