Sister M. Melchior Lerch, 95, a visiting nurse and an administrator at a residence for the elderly, died Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Provincialate in Cherry Hill.
Sister Melchior grew up as Helena Lerch in Lodz, Poland. In 1935, she entered the convent of the Little Servant Sisters in Brzozow, Poland. She was an accomplished embroiderer of liturgical garments, a bookkeeper at a children's home run by her order, and later a superior at several religious houses in Poland.
In 1965, she joined her order's provincialate in Cherry Hill. For seven years she was superior of novices, and helped establish the provincialate's annual Country Fair fund-raiser.
After becoming a practical nurse and studying pharmacology, Sister Melchior was on the staff of St. Mary's Catholic Home in Cherry Hill from 1973 to 1975.
She then was with the Mount Carmel Home Visiting Nursing Guild in Woodbridge, N.J., for 14 years. She loved bringing food and comfort to the lonely and providing medical care, including helping stroke patients rehabilitate, the nuns in her order said.
Sister Melchior was involved with fund-raisers, such as baking Polish specialities to benefit the construction of St. Joseph's Senior Home in Woodbridge.
After heart surgery in 1989, she was "heartbroken" that she no longer could be a visiting nurse, the nuns said, but embraced her new role as an administrator at the Marian Residence for senior women in Cherry Hill.
A "cherub" of a woman, she could barely see above the steering wheel of the station wagon she drove to transport the women to doctors, seashore outings, movies, and visits with friends, the nuns said. She retired in 2004.
Sister Melchior is survived by a niece.