Sister Mary Lillian Heitzeberg, 97, who was a member of the Sisters of Mercy for 79 years and taught in Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Nashville and Tennessee, died on July 9 at Mercy Convent in Nashville.
Sister Lillian was born June 6, 1922, in Nashville, the daughter of Edward J. Heitzeberg and Lillian Stark. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cincinnati on Sept. 8, 1940.
Sister Lillian received degrees from The Anthenaeum and Xavier University, both in Cincinnati. She taught primary grades in parochial schools throughout Tennessee, including Blessed Sacrament School in Memphis, St. Mary School in Knoxville, Sacred Heart School in Lawrenceburg, St. Dominic School in Kingsport, and St. Bernard Academy, St. Edward School, and Holy Rosary Academy in Nashville.
She taught at the St. Bernard Montessori School for preschool children from 1974 to 1981 and served as its director.
Sister Lillian also was a pastoral associate at St. Henry Church in Nashville, and she taught English as a second language to immigrants at the Cohn Adult Learning Center in Nashville.
Her joyful heart and welcoming spirit carried out the legacy of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Lillian’s family and friends said. Her smiling face and generous hospitality were gifts to all.
Sister Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Katie Hutchison, and her brother Ed Heitzeberg. She is survived by her many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, and great-nieces.
A funeral Mass was celebrated by Father Mark Hunt, the Mercy Sisters’ chaplain, at the Mercy Convent on July 15, followed by burial in Calvary Cemetery.