Sister Emily came to know the Sisters of Mercy as a young child when each summer, four sisters would travel from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Sacred Heart Parish in Woden to teach catechism. She entered the Cedar Rapids Regional Community in 1958.
Sister Emily spent her early years of religious life working at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids in the library, at the switchboard and in housekeeping. She continued her ministry at Kalispell (Montana) General Hospital and Methodist Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along the way, she completed coursework for her B.A. in human services at Mount Mercy College, graduating from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1979.
Sister Emily began pastoral work at St. Mary Hospital in Minneapolis. She served at Holy Trinity Parish in South St. Paul and St. Cecilia Parish in Ames, Iowa. She subsequently completed a one-year clinical pastoral education program in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She continued her pastoral work at Mercy Hospital, Iowa City, and became the director of pastoral services at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, Kansas. She then went on to serve as chaplain at Mercy Medical Center, Mason City, Iowa, from 1997 to 2009. After retiring in 2009, she continued as a volunteer minister.
Sister Emily was passionate about peace and justice issues, assisting in opening a shelter in Mason City for men and women experiencing homelessness; initiating Mercy Association in Mason City; and volunteering her time to immigration and anti-trafficking organizations.
At the time of her death, Sister Emily was an active board member of Fresh Start Jail Ministries. In keeping with her loving and generous spirit, she chose to donate life through the Iowa Donor Network.
Her motto, “Where there is Love, there is God” served her well.