Susanna Theresa Nickel Schroeder: church worker; born 17 April 1888 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA, the eldest of nine children of Theodore Nickel (4 February 1858, Rudnerweide, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 26 August 1916, Saskatchewan, Canada) and Susanna J. (Janzen) Nickel (28 September 1865, Rudnerweide, Molotschna, South Russia - 13 February 1930, Waldheim, Saskatchewan). On 1 September 1910 Susanna married Peter Reuben Schroeder in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA. Susanna died on 23 February 1966 in Hillsboro, Kansas, USA.
Although Susanna, born to Russian Mennonite parents in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, "always felt like a missionary at heart" and dreamed of service in India, she never left North America. In 1910 Susanna, known as Susie, married Peter Reuben Schroeder, who was later to become a prominent General Conference Mennonite Church leader and vocal critic of "modernism." The Schroeders were married while studying at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, the first married couple to attend the school. After Peter's graduation, Susie threw her energies into Christian service as a pastor's spouse. They served congregations in Berne, Indiana, Freeman, South Dakota, and Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Since Peter traveled a great deal on behalf of the conference, Susie carried heavier responsibility for parenting their four daughters—Celeste (d. 1968), Vernelle, Louise (d. 1943) and Esther Ruth.
Shortly after moving to Mountain Lake Peter died at age 52 after a brief illness (1941). Besides facing the loss of a spouse, Susie had to face the loss of her "vocation" as pastor's wife. The following year the Bethel congregation in Mountain Lake invited her to serve as a paid "church worker." For the next ten years she visited the sick and young mothers, wrote conference reports for the pastors, taught adult Bible school, Sunday school, and teacher training classes and updated church records.
Throughout her life her commitment to missions remained strong. She served as secretary of the Women's Missionary Association of the General Conference Mennonite Church from 1926 to 1928; encouraged her sister, Helen, and daughter, Vernelle, who were able to serve in India; assisted the relief committee in Mountain Lake in sending huge shipments of food and clothing to those in need; and wrote in her will, "And girls, remember missions."
Dehnert, Celeste Schroeder. "Peter R. Schroeder—Pastor and Conference Worker." Mennonite Life 4 (July 1949).
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.02 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #307567.
Koontz, Bessie B. Refreshing Rays from Western Slopes. Newton, KS: Allen Publishing Co., 1965.
Lehman, Naomi. Pilgrimage of a Congregation. Berne, IN: First Mennonite Church, 1982.
Schroeder, Mrs. P. R. "My Memoirs." Manuscript compiled by Celeste Schroeder Dehnert, Mennonite Library and Archives [North Newton, KS], 1964.
Unrau, Ruth. Encircled: Stories of Mennonite Women Newton, KS: Faith and Life, 1986: 101-114.
|Author(s)||Gayle Gerber Koontz|
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||September 2013|
 Cite This Article
Koontz, Gayle Gerber and Richard D. Thiessen. "Schroeder, Susanna Theresa Nickel (1888-1966)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2013. Web. 31 Jul 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Schroeder,_Susanna_Theresa_Nickel_(1888-1966)&oldid=122590.
Koontz, Gayle Gerber and Richard D. Thiessen. (September 2013). Schroeder, Susanna Theresa Nickel (1888-1966). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 July 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Schroeder,_Susanna_Theresa_Nickel_(1888-1966)&oldid=122590.
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