Michigan nun Sister Joseph Marie Ruessman of the Alma Sisters of Mercy, who was killed in a hit-and-run on Thursday, was remembered for her fidelity to Christ, tireless hard work in her community, and her joyful laugh.
“I think her faith and her relationship with Christ was everything,” said Sister Mary Sarah Macht, RSA, of the Alma Sisters of Mercy in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, according to the Morning Sun. “She’s a person who is the epitome of the person who works behind the scenes. Just because she was quiet, doesn’t mean she wasn’t sharp. She was just a very fine lawyer,” Sister Macht said, recalling that Sister Joseph Marie had the “best” laugh.
Sister Joseph Marie, 64, was last seen the night before she died, on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at St. Mary's of the Assumption Cathedral in Saginaw, where many members of the Alma Sisters of Mercy were attending the final vows of fellow sisters. The next morning, she was riding her bike around 7 a.m. on Michigan Avenue, when a car hit Sister Joseph Marie and fled the scene. Pieces from the vehicle were found next to her body. She was discovered alive but unresponsive not long after the incident by pedestrians, who then called 9-11. Police and EMS workers arrived around 7:20, and she was then transported to MidMichigan Medical Center.
The police are now investigating the event as a hit-and-run and are offering a $500 reward for relevant information that would lead to the person responsible for driving the car.
Sister Joseph Marie died from sustained injuries later that night around 8 p.m., surrounded by members of her religious order and family, who prayed and sang hymns next to her hospital bed.
“Any time, to be with someone during that process, is a profound experience,” said Sister Macht. “This is the way He called her home, and we had the privilege of being with her in that.”
Sister Joseph Marie’s funeral took place on Monday at Our Lady of Grace Chapel in Alma, and she was laid to rest at the cemetery of the Religious Sisters of Mercy in DeWitt.