Sister Mary E. Zaenglein was born in Buffalo, the oldest of three children. She attended St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Springbrook and graduated from Iroquois Central High School in 1970. She continued her education at Potter Road Vocational School where she majored in practical nursing, and then went on to Villa Maria College, D’Youville College and Trocaire College, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was a dean’s list student at Villa Maria and D’Youville. At Villa Maria, she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the National Honor Society. She became a licensed practical nurse and held an associate degree in applied science for gerontology and administration.
Sister Mary entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Williamsville, New York in 1979. At that same time, she began ministering as an LPN at St. Francis Home and Holy Family Home in Williamsville and at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston.
She went on to Waterfront Health Care Center in Buffalo, where she was unit manager and health information manager. In 2001, Sister Mary became health care unit manager at St. Mary’s of the Angels Motherhouse where she oversaw the care of her Sisters in community. After 2012, she pursued various roles in community service.
With the Sisters of St. Francis, Sister Mary was active as a member of the Heritage Day Planning Committee and Franciscans In Action.
Sister Mary will be remembered for her dedication to the field of healthcare and her dedication to the individuals for whom she cared.
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November 29, 1929 – July 6, 2021
Sister Stephen Marie was born in Hilo, Hawaii. She attended St. Joseph Elementary and High School in Hilo until the tenth grade, transferred to Hilo High School then to St. Francis Convent School in Honolulu from which she graduated in 1947. She entered the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order, Syracuse, New York, on September 29, 1947 and was invested in March 1948. Sister made her final Profession of Vows in 1953, and in 2018 celebrated her 70th Jubilee as a Franciscan Sister.
Sister received a Bachelor of Science degree from Chaminade University of Hawaii in 1962. For over 50 years she ministered in education holding positions in Albany, North Utica, and Fairmont in New York, and in Venice, Florida. In Hawaii, Sister taught at Sacred Heart School, Lahaina, St. Francis Convent School in Honolulu, and spent a total of 25 years at St. Joseph School in Hilo. After leaving education, she then ministered at St. Francis Medical Center-West in Ewa Beach as the coordinator for volunteers. Following her retirement in 2009, she spent her remaining years in community service, and prayer ministry at St. Francis Convent in Manoa.
Sister Stephen Marie will be remembered for her great sense of humor and happy go lucky attitude that made her the life of every party. She remembered her students and was always available for them; former students and colleagues will attest to her excellence as an English teacher, and her exceptional spelling ability.
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December 13, 1929 – June 22, 2021
Sister Colette Wintill was born in Lincoln Hill, Pennsylvania and joined the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale in 1948. Almost immediately, Sister began a ministry in education that would last over 40 years.
Sister Colette ministered as both teacher and principal in numerous Pittsburgh Catholic schools until 1988. She also taught in Catholic schools in Puerto Rico, Chicago, Illinois and Towson, Maryland. For two years she cared for infants and children at the Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center operated by the Sisters. In 2006, Sister tutored both children and adults in language skills.
Sister’s persistent desire to teach and to help others earned her a certificate of service from the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council in 2015. Sister Colette was an avid reader who enjoyed the services from the Carnegie Library Book Mobile.
When the congregation sold the Mt. Alvernia region house, Sister Colette joined her Franciscan Sisters in their bold move to The Waters of Wexford, where the Sisters joined lay people in residence. Staff members were drawn to Sister’s kind and generous spirit. Throughout her life, Sister enjoyed the love and support of her many nieces and nephews.
Sister always claimed that her more than 70 years of religious life were rich and fulfilling for her. She will be remembered for the motto that she held within her heart throughout her life, “In everything, give thanks.” Her Franciscan Sisters and her family give thanks for Sister Colette.
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May 7, 1946 – June 9, 2021
Sister Mary Frances Cannon was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She graduated from Limestone College in Greenville and joined the Sisters of St. Francis in 1997.
Sister began her ministry as a pre-school teacher at The Bowman House in Utica, New York. She also taught at Gingerbread House Pre-School and Day Care Center in Syracuse. A certified chaplain, Sister ministered at St. Joseph Hospital Health Center and Crouse Hospital, both in Syracuse, New York. At the time of her death, Sister was teaching religion at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Anderson, South Carolina.
In addition to her teaching, Sister Mary Frances served as the Assistant Spiritual Director for Woman’s Cursillo, a program for lay people looking to increase their faith and spirituality. In 2017, she received the Religious Woman of the Year award from the South Carolina Catholic Women.
Sister will be remembered for her youthful energy and her love of life.
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May 6, 1925 – May 28, 2021
Sister Francis Marie Vallone grew up on the west side of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family were members of Holy Cross parish. Sister Francis Marie attended and graduated from Grover Cleveland High School, where she took secretarial courses and was elected girls’ treasurer of her class.
Several years after her graduation in 1944, Sister Francis Marie entered the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child, an order founded by the Diocese of Buffalo, New York to provide religious instruction to the children of Italian immigrants. During the summers, she went door-to-door gathering information from households in their parishes to better understand neighborhood needs, a ministry of the Divine Child sisters. She conducted parish censuses in Buffalo and San Antonio. From 1963- 1970, Sister served as the community’s Director of Postulants and Novices. Sister was a member of that order for 60 years, until it became part of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
Sister was trained in Religious Education Teaching and Coordination at Medaille and Canisius Colleges, Buffalo, New York; Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, Texas; and St. Bonaventure University, Olean, New York.
Sister Francis Marie spent close to 36 years in religious education ministry as teacher and coordinator. In later years, she ministered as a pastoral associate at St. Joseph’s Parish in Niagara Falls, New York. She served as pastoral visitor to various Nursing homes in western New York for 12 years. Following her retirement from active ministry, Sister engaged in prayer ministry, praying for those in need.
Sister Francis Marie will be remembered for her willingness to serve, including as a volunteer, for her Franciscan joy and her devotion to God.
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September 6, 1930 – April 18, 2021
Born in Utica, New York, Sister Irene entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse at age 18. She attributed her religious vocation to “the Grace of God, my beloved parents and the example of the Franciscan Sisters,” who she encountered as a student at Maria Regina College.
Following her graduation from Maria Regina, Sister Irene attended D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Education. She also earned a master’s degree in Pastoral Care from St. Joseph College in Connecticut. She spent her first years in ministry assisting her fellow Sisters at St. John the Baptist Parish in New Jersey and at the Motherhouse and Convent in Syracuse.
In 1958, Sister Irene began a new ministry in education that would span 39 years. She cared for and educated children in Catholic schools in Utica, Syracuse and Albany, New York and in Riverside and Camden, New Jersey. In 1993, Sister Irene felt called to a new ministry in Pastoral Care. Until her retirement in 2014, Sister provided the ill and their families with comfort, counseling, spiritual guidance and support. Sister Irene eventually became Co-Director of Pastoral Care services at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a position she held for 16 years.
Sister Mary Irene will be remembered as a ‘people person’ who loved the people to whom she ministered with compassion and kindness. Her sense of humor will be missed at Franciscan Villa, where she could be found in the activity room playing her favorite games. Sister Mary Irene loved sports and never missed an opportunity for a trip in the Villa’s van.
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May 4, 1947 – April 4, 2021
Sister John Joseph Sochor was one of 15 children born to John and Frances Mikus Sochor. She was born in Endicott, New York and was a member of St. Joseph Parish there.
Less than a year after graduating from Union Endicott High School, Sister John entered the Sisters of St. Francis. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Marywood College and a masters from St. Bonaventure. She also held permanent certifications in Administration, Guidance, Home Economics and Health Education.
Sister John spent 38 years dedicated to ministry in education. She taught children and guided teachers as a teacher and principal in several Catholic schools in New York, Florida and New Jersey. In 1986 she changed ministry, choosing to serve God’s people as a pastoral associate on staff at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte, Florida. For the next 23 years, Sister John served first as Director of Religious Education, then Parish Minister and finally, as Director of Bereavement Ministry. And even though she retired in 2005, Sister John continued at the parish for four more years as a volunteer at the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society before returning to New York State in 2009.
Sister John loved to travel; her sense of fun and adventure made her an enjoyable travel companion. She had a welcoming and warm personality that lifted the spirits of all around her. She will be remembered for the compassion and support she gave to others and for her ability to embrace others with her kindness and joy. She will be greatly missed by her sister, Sister Francis Anthony and her Sisters in the St. Francis community.
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October 29, 1929 – January 25, 2021
Sister Helen Agnes (Elizabeth Angeline) was born in Hilo, Hawaii. She attended St. Joseph Elementary and High schools in Hilo until the tenth grade when she transferred to St. Francis Convent School in Honolulu. She entered the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order, Syracuse, New York, in 1947 and professed her final in 1953.
Sister Helen Agnes received a Bachelor of Science degree from Chaminade College of Honolulu and a Master of Science degree from the University of Hawaii. She ministered in Our Lady Help of Christians School, Albany, and St. Matthew Parish, East Syracuse, New York, before returning to Hawaii. There Sister taught at Sacred Heart School, Lahaina; St. Francis Convent School, Honolulu; and St. Joseph High School, Hilo. Later Sister taught at Maria Regina College, Syracuse, and St. Anthony High School, Long Beach, California.
In 1990, Sister Helen Agnes was the administrator of St. Francis Pensione, Rome, Italy, that the congregation operated. The pensione overlooked St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican City. Her remaining years in ministry were spent in parent ministry and community service, and as an administrative aide at the Franciscan Adult Day Center in Hawaii.
Sister Helen Agnes was born on the day of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, triggering the great Depression, but she lived with great self-assurance and energy. Former students and colleagues attest to her excellence as an English, French, and Religion teacher. She enriched chapel liturgies and services as the organist for the St. Francis Convent in Hawaii until 2017. She will be remembered for her dress — traditional habit and gingham apron and her sense of humor and quick wit.
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August 12, 1931 – January 16, 2021
Sister Rose Marie was born in Oswego, New York and was a member of St. Paul’s Parish. She graduated from Oswego High School as salutatorian. She earned her nursing diploma from A. Barton Hepburn School of Nursing in Ogdensburg in northern New York.
At the age of 29, Sister Rose Marie entered the Sisters of St. Francis and made her final profession in July 1967. She furthered her education at Columbia University in New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in nursing.
Sister ministered at Mount Loretto in Staten Island, serving as Health Coordinator for three years. In 1967, the community sent her to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York where she ministered until her retirement in 2014. During that time, Sister Rose Marie served as staff nurse, supervisor of several units, director of materials management and as hospital historian. In 2008, Sister was awarded the Franciscan Award for outstanding service to the hospital. While ministering at the hospital, Sister Rose Marie also served her fellow sisters as a member of congregation leadership for 14 years.
Sister Rose Marie will be remembered for her exemplary nursing skills and dedication to providing quality health care.
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July 6, 1924 – January 1, 2021
Sister M. Alvera O’Grady grew up in Syracuse, New York during the Great Depression and as a teenager, began volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where she encountered the Sisters of St. Francis. She entered the community in 1946. She earned a BS degree in education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York and spent more than 60 years in primary education.
Sister Alvera ministered in schools in New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida but most of her teaching life was spent in the schools in the Diocese of Syracuse. In central New York, Sister Alvera taught in Baldwinsville, Fulton, Fayetteville and Syracuse. Her last school was Holy Family in Syracuse; she was the last Sister of St. Francis to teach there.
Sister Alvera loved teaching young children and they returned her devotion to them. In 1969 she received the Humanitarian Service Award from the New York Association of Brain Injured Children and in 1995, she received the St. John the Baptist De La Salle Award for Outstanding Teacher. Even after she retired from teaching at the age of 84, Sister Alvera continued to serve God’s people as a volunteer at Bishop’s Academy and as a pastoral care volunteer at St. Joseph Health Center and several area nursing homes.
Sister will be remembered for her prayerfulness, gentle spirit, love of children, laughter and quick wit.
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April 17, 1933 – December 19, 2020
Sister Florence grew up in Emsworth Borough, several miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of six children. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis at the age of 17. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Business Education from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan with special emphasis in Industrial Engineering.
During Sister’s first seven years in the congregation, she taught in several Roman Catholic schools in Pennsylvania; however, she began ministering in health care at St. Francis Medical Center in Pittsburgh‘s Lawrenceville neighborhood in 1958. Sister Florence’s ministry at the hospital started in the billing department, but soon after she spearheaded efforts to install the first computer system in the hospital. She held many administrative positions during her 35 years at the hospital, finally serving as chief executive officer until the hospital closed in 2002. Sister had a strong commitment to her Franciscan community and was always eager to share her wisdom and be a part of new adventures for the growth of the community. For eight years Sister Florence served her religious community as Director of Ministry and after leaving health care, she served as assistant archivist at Mount Alvernia in Millvale, Pennsylvania.
Sister lived her life as a witness to her Franciscan spirit. She advocated for care of the environment; even in death she reflected her love of the earth by arranging to have a Green Funeral. Her work with recycling, land advocacy, and community education earned her an honor from the Franciscan Federation in 2007. Along with her love of nature, Sister Florence also advocated for various peace and justice issues and was instrumental in establishing ministries for the poor in Texas, New Mexico and Pittsburgh.
Sister Florence loved to read, was a deep thinker and never tired of learning. She will be remembered for her deep desire to be the Franciscan woman the church and our planet needs for now and into the future.
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July 2, 1936 – October 21, 2020
A native of central New York, Sister Noreen graduated from the Sisters of St. Francis Convent School in Syracuse, New York where she first met the Sisters whose congregation she would join in 1954. She continued her education at Medaille College in Buffalo, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Education and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from SUNY Buffalo.
Sister Noreen taught in elementary schools in the Diocese of Syracuse and in Riverside, New Jersey and in higher education at Oswego Catholic High School, Assumption Academy High School and the Franciscan Academy, all in the Syracuse area. She went on to teach at Maria Regina College. Especially dear to her heart were the 12 years she spent as teacher and counselor to juvenile offenders at the Hillbrook Detention Center in Syracuse where her compassion and caring ways helped her reach these students. Following her ministry in education, Sister served as a receptionist at St. Joseph’s College of Nursing.
Sister Noreen will be remembered for her quick wit and hearty laugh and years of service to her fellow sisters.
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March 6, 1930 – October 20, 2020
Sister Mary Harold was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, a member of the Assumption Church parish where she attended both grammar and high school. Sister continued her education after she entered the Sisters of St. Francis, earning a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Oswego and her master’s degree from the University of Hawaii.
Sister’s many years of ministry were primarily centered on educating children of all ages, ranging from ministry at the congregation’s Gingerbread House Day Care Center to grammar school and high school. She was a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher in Catholic schools in Syracuse, Oswego, Utica and Albany in New York; Long Beach, California; Hoboken and Riverside, New Jersey; and Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii. While in Honolulu, Sister Mary Harold also served as principal for the St. Francis High School for several years.
When her ministry in education ended, Sister Mary Harold continued to support her community as a volunteer for NunBetter Chocolates, helping to package the goodies sold to the public through the candy shop first on Court Street in Syracuse, then at Franciscan Villa.
Sister Harold will be remembered for her love of God, her family and her religious community as well as her support for Syracuse University sports teams. She will be missed, especially in the Villa’s activity room where she could be found socializing and playing games, including pinochle.
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November 1, 1927 – October 19, 2020
Sister Mary Aileen was always known for her kind and non-judgmental approach to life. Born in the Bronx, New York, on November 1, 1927, to Leo and Loretta Cicoria Popoli, she was baptized Marie Loretta. She had three brothers, Anthony, Frank and Leon, known as Leo. Her sister Jenny McDonald survives her and currently lives in Fishkill, NY. Sister Aileen had many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews for whom she was simply known as their loving Aunt Mary.
Sister entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Hastings on Hudson on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi in 1949. She was professed on July 14, 1952, and took her final vows on July 14, 1955. Her long ministry in education began at St. Clare Academy, Hastings in 1951, St. Joseph’s New Rochelle from 1952 to 1957 and St. Catherine’s Pelham from 1957 through 1964. Then in the fall of 1964, Sister Aileen arrived at Immaculate Conception Parish in Tuckahoe, New York, and as the saying goes, “The Rest is History.” Sister ministered 47 years as an Educator and Minister of the Eucharist to the Homebound, as well as serving on Parish and Civic Committees. She was known for her kindness to students and parents alike; she knew everyone and everybody knew her. There is an award made at Immaculate Conception’s graduation each year in Sister’s honor – The Sister Mary Aileen Service Award – given to the student who demonstrates Christian values of kindness, gentleness, and loving service in the spirit of Sister Mary Aileen.
Her Sisters benefitted from her service on many congregational committees, especially during Chapter times. She was a member of the Steering Committee for the Founding Chapter in 2004 and the Franciscan Federation Region 1.
In 2011, Sister moved to Meadowview Assisted Living at Wartburg, Mt. Vernon, and here she continued her ministry of caring for others, serving as the Eucharist Minister for the Memory Care Unit until the Covid -19 virus began in March.
Those who knew Sister as Aunt Mary, a teacher, a faithful friend or as a Sister of St. Francis in Community found her always a gentle, positive and loving person.
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October 13, 1930 – September 28, 2020
Sister Eileen was a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of nine children of John and Elizabeth Kernan. She attended grammar school at St. Bernard Parish and graduated from St. Francis Academy in Whitehall, PA. She began her religious life in 1951 when she entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God in Pittsburgh.
Sister earned a BS degree in Education from Seton Hill College and a Master’s in English from Duquesne University. She taught for 26 years in Catholic schools in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York at the elementary, junior and senior high school levels. Sister Eileen also ministered in the area of social services, working at Covenant House shelter for children experiencing homelessness. She also served as a field worker for the Office of Economic Opportunity in Knox County, Kentucky.
In 1983, Sister Eileen felt called to a difference Franciscan experience and asked for and was granted a transfer to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. This move led her to multiple new ministries — using her secretarial skills at Bishop Ludden High School and as a secretary to the congregation’s ministers in central New York. Sister also held the position of Pastoral Minister at St. Aloysius Parish in New Jersey in 1989. In 1992, Sister Eileen became the Director of Religious Education at St. Lucy Parish in Syracuse, New York, a ministry she continued until 2002.
Newspaper columnist Sean Kirst was part of the Faith Formation program at St. Lucy’s Parish when Sister Eileen ministered as coordinator. He remembered her on FaceBook in this way: “Sister said children are such receptacles of the light of God that when they walk into the classroom the sheer brilliance sometimes makes her close her eyes…You felt the truth of it, the passion of it, as she said it…”
Sister will be remembered for her compassion and concern for the poor, her kindness, her thought-provoking ‘wonderings’ and her love of cats.
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February 6, 1925 – September 21, 2020
For 68 years, Sister Mary Sara served God and her community as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She entered the Sisters in Millvale, Pennsylvania at the age of 27, after having worked as an executive secretary and stenographer for several businesses in Brownsville, Pennsylvania.
Sister Mary Sara began her ministry as a teacher, spending one year at St. Scholastica’s school in Aspinwall, educating 70 second graders. Most of her ministry, however, was supporting the sisters’ St. Francis Health Care system as administrative secretary, purchasing director and pastoral care minister. After 35 years, she began serving her fellow Sisters, working in congregational services at the Mt. Alvernia motherhouse in Millvale and volunteering at the Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center.
Sister Mary Sara will be remembered as generous, gracious and cheerful, as well as for her willingness to serve others and her dedication to God. Those who knew Sister well recall that she was relentless in sharing her love of God with others. Her favorite scripture quote was “God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) Thank you, Sister, for making the world a better place with your many years of love and service.
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February 10, 1934 – September 20, 2020
Sister Kathleen entered the congregation of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child in Buffalo, New York in 1952; she became a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in 2004 following a merger and eventual union of three religious congregations.
Sister earned a Bachelor of Scient in education at Medaille College after entering the convent and a Master of Science in education at Canisius College. For 48 years, she ministered in education, teaching French, English and U.S. history and government at schools across the country, including western New York, Brooklyn, and Texas.
In more recent years, Sister Kathleen ministered to her fellow sisters in community administration and service as well as in prayer ministry. She especially liked to drive and often accompanied her non-driving sisters to doctor’s appointments, shopping and errands, earning her the nickname “Mario Andretti” from her friends and students.
Sister will be remembered for her love of teaching and her students, her fondness for dogs and stuffed animals and her willingness to help others.
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October 20, 1935 – September 18, 2020
Sister Teresita was born Evelyn Richardson in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of seven children. In 1960, she became a lay missionary with a group sponsored by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child in Buffalo, New York; one year later, she entered the Divine Child congregation and served there for 43 years. She served as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for 16 years, following a merger of three religious congregations.
She served God in a variety of ministries — as a census taker for 29 years and a teacher and religious coordinator for 17 years in schools in and around Buffalo, New York. Sister Teresita ministered as a missionary in Brazil, where she assisted Jesuit priests in serving with the poor and worked with migrants in Texas near the Mexican border. She was a staff member for the House of Peace and Justice in California and Mexico and volunteered at Little Portion Friary and ass parish visitor for Our Lady of Lourdes Church, both in Buffalo. For over 25 years, Sister Teresita volunteered in prison ministry in Albion and was a member of the Kairos Prison Retreat and Bible Study programs.
Sister Teresita will be remembered for her spirituality and her lifelong interest in travel and languages. Sisters will especially miss her during Mardi Gras, which she celebrated with all the enthusiasm of a true New Orleanian.
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January 26, 1934 – September 7, 2020
One of eight children, Sister Dorothy attended Catholic schools in the Buffalo, New York area for her K-12 education. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in August 1953.
Sister Dorothy continued her education while in community, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Canisius College, a certificate in religious education from the Notre Dame Institute of Religious Studies in Virginia, and took additional graduate studies at Niagara University and D’Youville College.
Sister returned to the classroom as a teacher in Buffalo area schools including our Lady Help of Christians, St. Mary of Sorrows and St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster, New York. At Archbishop Carroll High School in Buffalo, she not only taught but assumed duties as assistant principal as well.
Sister Dorothy was very active within the Sister community. She served as general treasurer for 23 years and was a member of the congregation’s Leadership Team. She chaired the congregation’s Constitutional Committee and traveled to Rome in 1982 to present the revised constitution to the Vatican. She was the community’s representative to the Diocese of Buffalo’s Retirement Fund for Religious as well as a member of the National Association of Religious Treasurers.
In 1987, Sister Dorothy coordinated the St. Mary of the Angels refugee program, which assisted individuals seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. She represented the Sisters of St. Francis on the board of directors and advisory board of Vive, a shelter for refugees in Buffalo.
Sister Dorothy will be remembered for her dedication to God, to the many students she educated and for her work in ‘welcoming the stranger’ to the United States.
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June 6, 1929 – August 9, 2020
Sister Lucy Sabatini was born in Vasto, Italy on June 6, 1929 and came to America with her family at an early age. At the age of 22, Sister became an American Citizen.
Sister Lucy was educated in the local Catholic school and graduated from Cathedral High School in New York City. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Hastings on Hudson on January 4, 1948; her First Profession took place on July 14, 1950 and she professed her Final Vows on July 14, 1953.
Sister Lucy earned a B.S. in Education and master’s degree in Spanish from Fordham University. She ministered as a teacher and principal in schools in Westchester County and Mt. Loretto on Staten Island as well as Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Though Sister taught Spanish at St. Clare Academy in Hastings, her true calling was to educate the very young. To this aim, Sister traveled to London, England the summers of 1975-81 to train in the Montessori Method of Teaching at St. Nicholas Center. Sister Lucy became the Administrator of Nazareth Nursery, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis in New York City, where she instituted one of the best Montessori schools in Manhattan.
Another example of Sister’s dedication to young children was the cause of the Unborn. Sister took the Right to Life cause to heart and advocated for this important issue with great vigor.
Sister Lucy was a well known and loved member of the Lower West Side of New York City community; she knew everyone on 15th Street and the surrounding area. She fed the homeless at the Nursery Door for many years and accepted children on a sliding scale to make sure no child was rejected. She was concerned for the spiritual development of each child; her involvement in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is legendary in the Archdiocese of New York.
Sister was something of a world traveler. Her brother-in-law was Joseph Perillo of the famous Perillo Tours which made her travel easy and more affordable.
She was well loved by the staff in the Meadowview Assisted Living and at the Skilled Nursing Facility at Wartburg where she lived after her retirement. She was an avid Bingo fan in both buildings and attended every activity that the nursing home offered. Our Sister Lucy was truly a people person!
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July 8, 1932 – July 29, 2020
A native of Pennsylvania, Sister Terence Spenger entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, PA in 1950. She spent 38 years teaching in Catholic elementary schools in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Altoona, Johnstown and San Juan, Puerto Rico. While teaching, she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at Duquesne University.
In 1994, Sister Terence was offered the position of assistant administrator at St. Vincent de Paul Society in Johnstown where she ministered until 2003. From there she was assigned as assistant to the Regional House secretary at Mt. Alvernia region house. Due to declining health, Sister’s final months were spent at Vincentian Home where she was cared for by a loving staff.
Sister Terence will be remembered for her commitment to service and for carrying the spirit of St. Francis into her ministries, community service and daily life. The gratitude of the many children that she educated can be summed up in this note by a parent of a former student: “Sister Terence is an extraordinary person who has done wonderful things for ordinary people.”
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June 6, 1934 – June 7, 2020
Sister Frances Joseph was born in New Jersey, the daughter of Italian immigrants. She attended Catholic schools operated by the Sisters of Mercy and following graduation, she completed a three year program to become a registered nurse.
Sister continued her nursing education and career prior to joining the Sisters of St. Francis. She studied at McGill University in Montreal for certification to teach nursing, and after returning home, she was on staff at Easton Hospital in Pennsylvania, in charge of Pediatrics and teaching Maternal and Child Health to students in the nursing program. She also worked at St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City and in the operating room of Mt. St. Mary’s Hospital in Niagara Falls, New York.
Sister entered the community at the age of 29, professing her final vows on July 3, 1971. As a Sister of St. Francis, she continued her education and her nursing ministry. She earned a BS degree and became certified in New York State as a nursing home administrator. She also became an accredited Record Technician.
Sisters Frances Joseph also put her nursing experience to use in ministry, serving as Director of Nursing for St. Mary’s Manor, administrator at St. Francis Home in Williamsville, New York; and staff nurse, CCU nurse, education director and director of Medical Records at St. Francis Hospital. She care for her sisters as minister and in the infirmary at St. Mary of the Angels (now Fredonia Place of Williamsville), the region house for sisters in western New York.
Sister officially retired in 2009 but never gave up her ministry of caring for others. Up until her health failed, Sister Frances Joseph spent time as a “baby cuddler” at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, New York. There she would provide babies born with symptoms of substance abuse with cuddling and the sense of touch, so important to their physical and emotional well-being and early development. Sister would rock the babies and pray for them and their mothers.
Sister Frances Joseph will be remember for her non-judgmental love of the babies she cared for and their mothers, her love of learning and for the contributions she made in a multi-faceted career.
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October 12, 1938 – May 27, 2020
An only child raised in Syracuse, New York, Sister Rosaline felt an early call to religious life and at the age of 19, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis from her home parish of St. James. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Medaille College and a Master’s Degree in Administration from St. Bonaventure University, which she used during her 62 years of ministry.
Sister taught in Catholic schools in the Syracuse and Albany dioceses where her hard work and talent earned her positions in administration. She served as principal for many years, first at Holy Family in Fairmount, New York, then at St. Joseph’s in Camden, New Jersey. She completed her ministry in education as principal at Blessed Sacrament in Margate, New Jersey.
In 2007, Sister Rosaline took on a new challenge — serving as a pastoral minister at two parishes in New Jersey, where she tended to the needs of people who were ill, financially disadvantaged or elderly, showing great love and compassion.
Sister enjoyed visits to the Jersey Shore and sports, and was an avid fan of all things Notre Dame athletic. She will be remembered as a diligent, self-sacrificing worker and missed as a loyal and generous friend.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Rosaline Walters
February 12, 1921 – May 6, 2020
Sister was born Mary Theresa Rossi in Poughkeepsie, the second youngest in a large loving family. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Hastings on Hudson in the autumn of 1940. She received her name Rose Assumpta on her reception day in 1941.
Sister began her long ministry as a teacher at St. Rosalie School in Brooklyn. She spent many years at Mt. Loretto on Staten Island, a favorite among her students. In addition to those schools, Sister also taught in a half-dozen schools in Westchester and became well known as a junior high science and math teacher.
Sister Rose earned both a B.S. and M.S. in education from Fordham University. She received several National Science Foundation grants for advanced study in the area of Science during the summer months. She was included in the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” 4th edition – 1996. In 1995 and 1999, she was chosen by two former students who attended Fordham Preparatory School for Special Honorary Recognition.
Fiercely independent, Sister Rose only used a walker in the last month of her life. Always cheerful, Sister will be remembered for the jokes she loved to tell, her love of nature and her more than 80 years of dedicated service to God, her students and her community.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister M. Rose Assumpta Rossi
October 25, 1938 – April 20, 2020
Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Sister Helen Paul entered the St. Francis community at age 22. She attend Mercy College where she earned a BS degree, then attended Banks St. College of Education for her masters in early childhood education. In 1963 Sister Helen Paul became a registered nurse in New York State and began her ministry in health care.
She began as a staff nurse at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, New York, where she also worked with children with physical disabilities at the hospital’s rehabilitation center as both a staff nursing and nursing supervisor of the unit. When the hospital closed, Sister Helen Paul joined the staff of a walk-in medical facility in Yonkers, serving there as a nurse manager, office manager and finally, as a clinical educator and employee health nurse.
In addition to her membership in several professional associations, Sister Helen Paul also served her community as a member of the general council of the Sisters of St. Francis in Hastings-on-Hudson and on the Shared Futures Task Group that led to the union of her community with Franciscan communities in Syracuse and Williamsville, New York. Following the union, Sister Helen Paul served on the finance committee and as director of finance for the sisters in the East Coast region.
Health issues plagued Sister Helen Paul in her later years and she approached them with strength and will. She researched each new health problem so she could remain proactive in her care. While eight years of dialysis three times a week sapped her physical strength, it never affected her resolve.
Sister Helen Paul will be remembered for her determination and the strength of her personal will. Sisters will miss seeing her traveling the grounds of The Wartburg senior living community in her motorized wheelchair.
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September 7, 1930 – March 17, 2020
Born in East Syracuse, New York 89 years ago, Sister Julienne was a member of St. Matthew’s Church and graduated from the Convent School in Syracuse. In 1948, Sister felt God’s call to service and entered the Sisters of St. Francis. Sister earned a BS degree in Social Studies from Le Moyne College and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Sister Julienne spent most of her life ministering to God’s children in various parochial schools, teaching in parishes in Albany, East Syracuse and Utica, New York. She also served as Principal of Holy Cross School and St. Matthew’s School, both in central New York. She also devoted herself to the education of children as librarian at St. Daniel School and Bishop Ludden High School (both in Syracuse) where she also filled the role of Attendance Clerk.
Sister Julienne had a great passion for books and reading. This led her to a beautiful and long lasting friendship with New York Times bestselling author, Fern Michaels. The members of her religious Community will remember Sister Julienne’s 72 years of devoted service, her loving concern for children, her generosity and the care and support she gave others. Those who know her best will remember her love of Notre Dame Sports and bread and butter pickles.
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Aug. 18, 1927 – Feb. 28, 2020
Sister Jane Marie entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God from Immaculate Conception Parish in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1960 after several years of working as an executive secretary. She began her ministry teaching in Catholic elementary schools in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey from 1964 to 1970. From 1970 to 1992, Sister Jane Marie taught business classes at South Catholic High School in Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1972, Sister Jane Marie received a Master of Education from Duquesne University and from that time, she completed several certificate courses in Business Education. Sister served as a financial assistant to the Sisters of St. Francis until she participated in a sabbatical year at Washington Theological Union in 1996. The following four years, Sister Jane Marie served her congregation in several areas before moving to Angel’s Place as administrative assistant.
In 2009, Sister Jane Marie transferred to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and professed her perpetual vows in the congregation in 2011. In her new community, Sister served in several ministries, including as a staff member at the Mount Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center.
Sister spent her final days at Vincentian Home. She will be remembered for remaining strong in her faith in the face of challenges.
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Aug. 2, 1929 – Feb. 25, 2020
A native of Syracuse, New York, Sister Gratia attended The Convent School in Syracuse and entered religious life in 1949. She was a Sister of St. Francis for 70 years.
After receiving a BS degree from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York and a master’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York, S. Gratia began her 25-year ministry in teaching. She ministered in various Catholic elementary schools in the Dioceses of Syracuse, Albany, Newark, New Jersey, and Trenton, New Jersey. She then assumed an administrative position and became Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph School in Camillus, New York, Assumption Church in Syracuse and St. Joseph School in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Sister Gratia continued to serve her Franciscan community and the people of God even after her teaching ministry ended. She worked in clerical positions for many years at St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse and in Senior Services for Catholic Charities.
Sister Gratia will be remembered for her deep spirituality, respectful politeness, kindly disposition, and her amiable smile.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister M. Gracia Eallonardo
Aug. 26, 1922 – Dec. 29, 2019
Born in Utica, New York where she was a member of St. Joseph Parish, Sister Dolorosa entered the Sisters of St. Francis following her graduation from Convent School in Syracuse.
Sister Dolorosa received a bachelor’s degree in education from LeMoyne College in Syracuse and a master’s degree in French language from the College of St. Rose in Albany. To further her French language skills, she studied at the Sorbonne in Parish, France, earning a Certificate de Langue Francaise. She served as a teacher and principal in elementary and high schools in New Jersey, throughout New York State and in Hilo, Hawaii in an education ministry that extended for 43 years.
Once she left the classroom, Sister Dolorosa worked in medical records at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis. During her time there, Sister also served as Director of Volunteers and Medical Staff Library Coordinator. When Sister Dolorosa retired, she moved to Franciscan Villa in Syracuse, where she volunteered at Nun Better Chocolates.
Sister Dolorosa will be remembered as a gifted educator, for her love of God, and her beautiful smile and gentle spirit.
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March, 21 1934 – Nov. 16, 2019
Sister Mary Jeanne (Patricia) Kennedy, a native of Buffalo, New York, entered the Sisters of St. Francis on Aug.15, 1952.
She prepared for her life-long ministry in education by graduating from Mount St. Joseph’s Teachers College with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1963. Nine years later, she received her master’s degree in education from Canisius College.
Sister Jeanne spent over 30 years in schools in the Diocese of Buffalo including St. Christopher, Tonawanda; Holy Name, St. James and St, Agnes, Buffalo; Annunciation, Elma; St. Leo’s, Amherst and St. Aloysius, Springville.
In 1967, Sister Jeanne was named principal of the school and convent superior at Our Lady of Pompeii Parish, Lancaster. She also served as principal at St. Mary’s Elementary School, Lancaster, for several years. Her last teaching assignment was at Fourteen Holy Helpers, West Seneca.
Sister Jeanne devoted her remaining years to community service, personal interests and hobbies, and most recently, to Prayer Ministry and Franciscan Presence.
Sister Jeanne donated her body to the University at Buffalo Anatomical Gift Program.
She will be remembered for her dedication to her many students and her service to her fellow sisters in community.
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Jun. 18, 1935 – Nov. 1, 2019
Sister Blanche was born in Brooklyn, New York. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis at the age of 21 and attended Maria Regina College in Syracuse, New York. She earned her AAS degree and went on to continue her education at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Sister Blanche began ministering in the field of education, teacher at St. Matthew School and the Franciscan Academy in Syracuse. Her teaching career ended when she suffered a traumatic hearing loss which left her completely Deaf. She continued to serve God and her community, taking on general household duties and clerical work, as well as serving as an assistant librarian at two central New York Catholic schools and Maria Regina College.
In 1974, Sister Blanche took up the cause for the beatification of Mother Marianne Cope. She continued to promote the cause through Mother’s canonization in 2004. Her hearing partially restored by a cochlear implant; Sister Blanche then taught visitors at the Mother Marianne Shrine.
Sister Blanche will be remembered for her intelligence, her deep spirituality, and her devotion to St. Marianne.
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Oct. 12, 1929 – Oct. 16, 2019
The third oldest of 12 children, Sister Mary Elise Finnigan graduated from St. Nicholas Academy (North Java, New York) in 1947 and entered the Sisters of St. Francis the following year.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College, now Medaille College, Sister Elise taught for 30 years in elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo, among them Holy Name School and St. Francis of Assisi School in Buffalo, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Silver Creek, St. Nicholas School in North Java, and Our Lady of Pompeii School in Lancaster.
After four years as a teacher and principal at Most Holy Redeemer School in Buffalo, Sister Elise entered a new ministry. She became a nurses’ aide, serving at St. Mary’s Manor in Niagara Falls and St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville. In 1982, Sister embarked on a third career as director of activities at St. Francis Home and Holy Family Home and assisted with activities at the Regional House, all in Williamsville. For two years, she was the director of Brother Leo’s Spirituality Center in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.
This teacher, principal, nurse’s aide, and facility manager was known for her Irish smile and ready wit. In 2002, she was named Holy Family Home Volunteer of the Year at the 25th annual conference of the Western New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
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Dec. 7, 1920 – Oct. 10, 2019
Born in Virginia, Sister Raphael became a Sister of St. Francis at the age of 27. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from LeMoyne College, a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University, and a master’s degree in Art from New Rochelle College in New York. She used her degrees and artistic talents in God’s service as a teacher and artist.
Sister Raphael began her ministry in catechetical and social work at St. Anthony Church in Utica, New York. She taught children at Catholic schools in Syracuse, Albany, and Oswego, New York and in Hoboken, New Jersey. She used her artistic talents as an art teacher at Convent School and Maria Regina College in Syracuse before a new ministry sent her to Rome, Italy. There she welcomed guests from all over the world to the Sisters of St. Francis Pensione.
Sister’s greatest joy was her assignment to the Hermitage Ministry at Alverna Heights in central New York in 1995. For 17 years she offered hospitality and spiritual direction to those who came to the Hermitage for spiritual renewal and guidance. She shared the beauty of God’s creation through her art.
Sister Raphael will be remembered for her many years of devoted service to her community, her love of prayer and meditation, and her great sense of humor and passion for painting. Her beautiful smile and warm manner will be missed by the many people who knew and loved her.
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Feb. 27, 1932 – Sept. 25, 2019
Sister Marilyn, a Pittsburgh native, entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, Pennsylvania in 1950. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in psychology and a second Master’s in Guidance and Counseling.
Sister Marilyn began her 58 years of ministry as a teacher, then served as a guidance counselor in several Catholic high schools. From 1982-1987, Sister served as associate director of staff development in the diocesan school’s office. In 1992, she became assistant director in the diocesan office for parish services and in 1994 and was promoted to director of the office where she served until 2002.
In 2001, Sister Marilyn’s outstanding service to the Church earned her a Manifesting of the Kingdom award from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In 2010, Sister retired from active ministry to begin a ministry of prayer for her sisters and for the Church.
Sister Marilyn will be missed by those who cared for her, by her sisters in community, and by her fellow residents at The Waters of Wexford who gained an appreciation for Sister since her move there earlier this year.
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April 9, 1931 – Sept. 21, 2019
Sr. Barbara Eirich entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in 1956 and made her final profession on July 14, 1962.
Sister Barbara earned her Master’s in social work from Fordham University and ministered as a teacher, a staff nurse for the Orthopedic Unit at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, and a social worker for the New York Institute for Human Development. In 1976 she founded Group Living Experience / Community Resource Center for the developmentally disabled in the Bronx, New York and served as its executive director until 1999. In 2002, she became an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities at the Varies Program in Connecticut.
Sister Barbara also served her community as an administrator and minister for community services at Immaculate Conception Convent in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York and Villa St. Francis in Peekskill.
Sister will be remembered for her dedication to individuals with disabilities and for her tremendous energy in her service to God and her fellow sisters.
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Oct. 2, 1926 – Aug. 25, 2019
Sister Marie Colette was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At the age of 22, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis and began a life-long ministry in nursing. She ministered as a staff nurse at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, New York and at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie. She was an infant nurse at the NY Foundling Hospital and a member of the Pastoral Care team at St. Francis Hospital from 1979 until her retirement in 2013 to The Wartburg in Mt. Vernon, New York.
Sister Marie Colette will be remembered for the loving and compassionate care she gave to her patients of all ages.
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April 6, 1923 – July 11, 2019
From the days of her youth, Sister Kevin wanted to become a Franciscan sister. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale on September 7, 1941 and gave 75 years of service to God as a teacher, social workers and nurse.
Sister Kevin earned a Bachelor’s in Education from Duquesne University, a master’s in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and a nursing degree from St. Francis Hospital. In 1944 she began teaching in Catholic elementary schools and continued this ministry until 1952 when she served in nursing both at St. Francis Medical Center and at Mt. Alvernia infirmary. She then returned to teaching for three years. Following this final service in elementary education, Sister Kevin returned to nursing until 1981. For the next 19 years, she served as manager at St. Francis Plaza in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, low income housing for seniors that the congregation co-founded. In 2000, Sister Kevin began her prayer ministry while also assisting with various tasks at Mt. Alvernia.
In her later years, Sister Kevin developed a fine talent for paper-cut artwork. She also took part in memoir writing classes and wrote several fascinating essays. She had a fondness for animals and enjoyed the visits from her pet therapy companions. As her physical capacity diminished, Sister Kevin continued to give joy to others through her artwork and her writings. For her it was a reminder of something she once wrote — “What a wonder to always spread joy in the world.”
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister M. Kevin Brand
March 15, 1925 – July 9, 2019
A Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities for 77 years, Sister Caroline Glatz entered thecommunity from Corpus Christi parish in East Liberty, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a B.A. and a M.A. in elementary education from Duquesne University and began a career in education that would span more than 40 years.
Sister Caroline said she was drawn to little children by the child in her, so her teaching profession centered for the most part around the little ones in first grade, with side trips into Kindergarten, second grade and ministering as principal at St. Scholastica School in Aspinwall. Her ministry then extended to working at Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center, first as group supervisor with 3- and 4-year-olds and then in the infant room where her quiet, unique way made both children and staff feel loved. When she left the day care center in 2006, Sister Caroline ‘retired’ to prayer ministry at Mount Alvernia region house.
Sister Caroline will be remembered as a prayerful, kind and gentle woman who never complained and always greeted everyone with a welcoming smile. She believed God worked in her life by helping her live simply, be generous with her time and talents, and by giving her the gift of patience.
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May 11, 1925 – June 25, 2019
Sister Norbert was born and raised in western New York state and entered the Sisters of St. Francis as a young woman. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Canisius College, received a scholarship from the National Science Foundation to the University of Notre Dame where she studied chemistry and earned a master of science degree. For 26 years she ministered in education, teaching at Catholic schools throughout western New York.
In 1974, S. Norbert moved from teaching to ministering in Pastoral Care and caring for the elderly, a ministry she seemed to prefer. Long before the Franciscan congregations in Syracuse and Williamsville merged, S. Norbert lived with the Syracuse sisters and served as Director of Pastoral Care at the Mercy Health and Rehab Center the sisters sponsored in Auburn, New York. At the time of her death, Sister continued to receive many cards for every occasion from her volunteers.
A tall, stately woman with natural curly blonde hair, Sister’s wardrobe brought her many compliments. While she appeared quiet and retiring, those who knew her well were aware of her sociable side and report that she readily attended events and never missed a Halloween party.
Sister Norbert’s social concerns spread beyond our community to many societies that offered prayers and Masses for any occasion. She had cards from religious groups from all over the world and her address book contained hundreds of names of friends and relatives from throughout the country.
Sister will be remembered for her prayerfulness and the many hours she spent in Chapel before the Blessed Sacrament and her love for her family, of whom she regularly spoke and for whom she prayed.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Mary Norbert Stang
July 22, 1923 – June 21, 2019
Born in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania into a family of nine children, Sister Gregory entered the Sisters of St. Francis at the age of 16, following in the steps of two aunts who also were sisters of St. Francis. She earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Duquesne University and a master’s in mathematics from St. Bonaventure. She also participated in postgraduate studies in math and science education from several universities.
Sister Gregory’s 80 years in ministry included education, civic service, volunteerism and leadership within her congregation. She was a teacher in the Pittsburgh Diocese for 19 years, principal of Mt. Alvernia High School for three years and principal of Brownsville Catholic for five years. She served two terms on the leadership team of the congregation and led the community’s development program. She was Diocesan education consultant, was active in the Junior Academy of Science in Pennsylvania and for 25 years, was heavily involved in the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. Sister Gregory also was the first woman council member in the Borough of Millvale, where she served for four years.
Sister Gregory will be remembered for her willingness to assist others wherever she was needed, for her positive attitude in that service and enjoying life to the fullest.
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Aug. 6, 1927 – June 22, 2019
Sister Marie Ella was born in Philadelphia, the only girl in a family of five brothers who loved her dearly and made her the family princess. At the age of 21, Sister Ella came to Buffalo to join the Sisters of St. Francis, after reading about the order in an old magazine, The Sacred Heart Messenger. She took the name Ella because it was her mother’s name.
For 31 years, Sister ministered as an elementary teacher in schools throughout western New York, from the farming community of Sheldon to inner city Buffalo. Her fondest ministry, however, was in pastoral care, which she began in 1986 and continued for 10 years, starting at St. Gerard’s and then at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, New York. Her special ability to listen with care and compassion made her an effective hospital chaplain; when she commented, her remarks were comforting and insightful.
Sister will be remembered for her quiet ways that often hid the sister who loved to share travel adventures and good times with her mother and fellow sisters, and for her unending concern for others that led her to ask, even in her final days, “What can I do for you?”
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May 31, 1925 – June 12, 2019
Sister Rose Ellen grew up in Utica, New York and entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse four years after graduating from Utica Free Academy in 1944. Sister’s education at St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing in 1947 and the bachelor’s degree in nursing she earned from Catholic University in 1954 prepared her for a ministry in health care.
Sister Rose Ellen was an excellent nurse. Her first assignment was at Mercy Hospital in Auburn, New York, where she served for 15 years as head nurse in Pediatrics, the Medical Surgical Units, and the Emergency Room. She eventually became Director of Nursing Services. She became the evening supervisor at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, where she was approached to become the hospital’s Diabetic Educator. She continued in this position for the next 30 years and joined with nurses from two other local hospitals to form the American Diabetic Outpatient program as a community teaching project. Her commitment to teaching individuals with diabetes about their illness and how to manage it earned her an award from the American Association of Diabetes Education as the outstanding volunteer of 1983.
Sister will be remembered as a devoutly kind, dedicated, conscientious caregiver with a great love for God and his people.
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March 27, 1927 – June 5, 2019
Sister Mary Dolores Cook was born in Windber, Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s nursing program in 1949. Seven years later, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis and earned a Master of Science degree in education from Canisius College.
During her 62 years as a Sister of St. Francis, Sister Dolores ministered to children as a teacher, counselor and principal at Catholic schools throughout the Buffalo, New York area. She served her community as a director of formation and novice and postulant director, and as an assistant general minister of the Sisters of St. Francis, service to which she brought a vibrant spirit and an open mind. She worked for the Diocese of Buffalo as Vicar for Religious Life, the first woman in the diocese to hold the position. She ministered there for 12 years.
Sister continued to minister even after she retired to St. Mary of the Angels region house (now Fredonia Place of Williamsville). She worked in the Archives office and started the ‘prayer shawl ministry’ — gathering sisters and Franciscan associates to pray as they knitted and crocheted shawls to wrap the elderly, the sick and those in despair in prayer, comfort and love. She served on the congregation’s Peace and Justice Committee.
Sister Dolores will be remembered by many for her support, her adventurous spirit and love of music, and an extensive and extraordinary ministry life.
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August 8, 1931 – May 15, 2019
A native of Syracuse, New York, Sister Mary William was a member of the Holy Trinity Parish. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis shortly after her graduation from Assumption High School. She earned two Bachelor’s Degrees, one in English from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York and another in Theology from St. Joseph College in Indiana. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Sister spent 70 years in God’s service, most of them ministering in schools. She taught in schools in DeWitt, Endicott, North Syracuse, and Syracuse, New York as well as Hoboken, New Jersey. Sister also did catechetical ministry in the central New York area, including in Baldwinsville, Chadwicks, Fairmount, Liverpool, Skaneateles, Syracuse, and Utica. Just before her retirement, she was school librarian at St. Rose of Lima School in North Syracuse and also volunteered to tutor children needing special help.
Sister Mary William will be remembered for her heartwarming smile, gentleness, faithfulness, prayerfulness, generosity, and her dedication to her family and her community.
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May 8, 1932 – April 18, 2019
Sister Christopher — Patricia Rose — came from a small town not far from Syracuse, New York. She joined the Sisters of St. Francis and began a ministry in healthcare that would take her to hospitals and adult day care centers throughout central New York and to Kalaupapa, Molokai.
Sister Christopher graduated from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Utica, New York in 1950. She served at the hospital as staff nurse in the operating room, medical-surgical unit, and emergency room. She transferred to St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu and spent three years in general nursing. From there, she was missioned to Bishop Home Hospital on Kalaupapa.
When she returned to the mainland seven years later, Sister Christopher entered St. Joseph’s College in Maryland where she earned a BS Degree in Nursing. She went on to Catholic University to receive her master’s degree. She was sent to St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse where over the years, she held positions of supervisor, instructor and in administration. In 1977, Sister Christopher took a position with Onondaga County Health Department and for 11 years, served as a public health nurse and public health supervisor.
In 1988, Sister Christopher began the ministry that she said was her most satisfying, that of administrator for St. Francis Social Adult Day Care Center. There, she developed programs for the frail, functionally impaired and elderly.
Sister Christopher will be remembered for her tireless efforts on behalf of the sick and elderly, her love of God and her community, and her true Franciscan spirit.
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June 22, 1943 – April 16, 2019
A Sister of St. Francis for over 55 years, Sister Jean was educated by the Sisters of St. Francis at Bishop O’Hern High School in Buffalo, New York. Following her graduation in 1962, Sister Jean attended Bryant & Stratton Business School. In November 1964, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis and celebrated her final profession of vows on July 1, 1972 at St. Aloysius Church in Springville, New York.
Sister Jean earned a BS degree in Education from Medaille College and her New York State teacher certification through Buffalo State College. Her ministry centered in elementary education; she taught Kindergarten to 8th grade at various schools in the Diocese of Buffalo, including St. Gregory the Great, Williamsville; SS Peter & Paul, Hamburg; St. Aloysius, Springville; St. Mary’s Elementary, Lancaster; and St. Vincent de Paul, Spring Brook. After 39 years as an educator, Sister Jean worked as a bookkeeper at the Catholic Academy in Buffalo, and in the development offices at St. Mary’s Elementary, Lancaster, and St. Agnes, Buffalo.
In addition to teaching, Sister Jean loved sports and held positions as Athletic Director and Coach for both girls’ and boys’ sports for basketball, baseball, volleyball and track. On March 29, 1993, Sister Jean received the St. Sebastian Award from the Diocese of Buffalo, Department of Catholic Education, in conjunction with the Elementary School Athletic Advisory Council for dedicated and sustained service to Elementary School Athletic Programs.
Sister Jean will be remembered for her dedicated service to her students and the student athletes with whom she worked.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Jean Marie Klaus
Nov. 26, 1926 – March 22, 2019
A native of Brooklyn, Sister Theresa Ruth attended St. Jean Baptiste High School before entering the Sisters of St. Francis in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
Sister Theresa worked in both education and nursing during her 61 years of ministry. As a teacher she served in schools in Hastings-on-Hudson, Tuckahoe and Mt. Loretto Staten Island, New York. She earned her LI degree in nursing from St. Francis School of Nursing in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1954; she later earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University. In the health care field, Sister Theresa held positions as an operating room supervisor, medical surgery supervisor, director of nursing services and nursing supervisor in hospitals and nursing homes in Westchester, Bronx, and Brooklyn. She also ministered as an infirmary nurse at Mt. Loretto Home for Children on Staten Island.
Sister also served her community as Vocations Director for six years and following her retirement from active ministry, continued as a prayer minister until 2011.
Sister will be remembered for her commitment to the compassionate care of God’s people.
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May 8, 1932 – March 9, 2019
Even though Sister Marie McTarnaghan was born in Warsaw, New York, she attended school from kindergarten through college at Geneseo Central. During her college years, Sister Marie spent summers working in the Department of Recreational Therapy, which later became Craig Development Center in the neighboring town of Sonyea, New York.
After college Sister Marie taught for four years in the Iroquois Center School District and also completed work on a master’s degree in Education at Canisius College of Buffalo.
She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1958 and professed her final vows in 1964. Sister Marie continued to minister as a teacher and principal in the following schools: SS Peter & Paul, Williamsville; St. Gregory the Great, Amherst; St. Mary’s Elementary, Lancaster; Queen of Heaven, West Seneca; SS Peter & Paul, Hamburg and Most Holy Redeemer, Cheektowaga.
Sister Marie also served as a Religious Education Coordinator at St. Mary’s Parish, Geneseo, New York. Her final ministry was as principal at St. Aloysius School, Springville, New York where she retired from her almost 40 years in education.
Sister Marie also served her congregation, serving as the Directress of Novices for several years. Most recently Sister Marie served in Community Service and Prayer Ministry at St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville.
Sister will be remembered for her love of the outdoors, her delight in bringing Holy Communion to her sisters in the health center and her desire to participate in community life even after she became ill.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Marie McTarnaghan
April 7, 1921 — March 4, 2019
Born in Honomu, Hawaii, Sister Laurine originally planned to become a nurse and to get married when she graduated from high school. During the last week of school, she was approached by a teacher who asked her when she was going to join the convent and mentioned that a boat would be leaving for the States in just a few weeks. Sister Laurine took the boat, entered the congregation and took her final vows in 1945.
Sister Laurine graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Syracuse, New York; she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing education and a master’s degree in religious education from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Her ministries in nursing, religious education and child caregiver sent her to Hawaii, Peru, Florida, Africa and Syracuse. At St. Joseph’s Hospital, Sister Laurine assisted in the operating room with open-heart surgeries and was the first nurse to operate the hospital’s heart and lung machine.
Sister once said that she wouldn’t trade her 78 years as a vowed woman religious for anything. She will be remembered for her service to God’s people, for her spirit of giving and missionary zeal, and her ability to develop a great rapport with everyone she encountered.
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Sept. 11, 1921 – Feb. 22, 2019
Sister Marie Clair entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, Pennsylvania from Sacred Heart Parish in Emsworth. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Duquesne University and spent 52 years ministering in primary grades in Catholic schools throughout the Pittsburgh Diocese. Following her many years in the traditional classroom, Sister Marie continued to teach in the after-school program at Northview Heights in Pittsburgh and at the Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center in Millvale. Prior to retiring to the congregation’s prayer ministry, Sister Marie served as assistant sacristan and sacristan at the Mt. Alvernia chapel for 13 years.
Sister Marie will be remembered for her hard work and conscientious attention to detail. Her dedicated, quiet spirit and her gracious Franciscan hospitality will be missed.Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Marie Clare
Aug. 6, 1921 – Feb. 25, 2019
For 49 years, Sister Wilma Eibeck taught elementary school children in schools throughout the Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, usingtheskills she learned in earning her bachelor’s degree in education from Duquesne University. After she left the classroom, Sister Wilma managed Bry-Mard Apartments, low income housing for seniors.
Sister Wilma will be remembered for her love of the financially disadvantaged and for being grateful that her vocation enabled her to serve God’s poor. Her kind, helpful and loving ways towards others, evidence of her Franciscan call to share spirituality with others through prayer and presence, will be missed.
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Nov. 24, 1932 – Jan. 16, 2019
Sister Rose Fatima was born on the Big Island of Hawaii, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Munoz Leite. She graduated from Hilo High School and worked as the cafeteria manager at St. Joseph School, Hilo, where she came to know the Franciscan sisters and discovered her religious vocation. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1951 and made her perpetual vows in 1957.
Sister Rose Fatima earned a bachelor’s degree at Chaminade College of Honolulu and a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. Most of her 68 years as a sister were spent in education ministry. She taught briefly in Riverside, New Jersey, and Syracuse, New York, and then for 50 years as a primary school teacher at St. Joseph Elementary School, Hilo. Her active ministry concluded in the spiritual care department and gift shop at St. Francis Medical Center.
A superb cook and baker, Sister Rose Fatima daily prepared dinner for 20-plus sisters and prepared sumptuous buffets for many holiday parties and jubilees.
As a teacher, Sister’s learning centers paved the way for individualized computer instruction, and she prepared children for their First Communion for years. She will be remembered for her gracious and prayerful manner and vivacious smile.
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Aug. 9, 1928 – Jan. 16, 2019
Sister Regina Rosaire was born in Queens, New York and served the Lord as a sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
During her time of service, Sister Regina Rosaire taught at a number of Catholic Schools – at St. Catherine’s School in Pelham from 1948 – 1954, St. Aloysius/Mt. Loretto from 1954-1962, Holy Name of Jesus in New Rochelle from 1962-1968 and again in 1971-1977. Sister Regina Rosaire taught at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Pelham Manor from 1968-1971, St. Ann’s in Ossining from 1977-1978 and St. Eugene’s in Yonkers from 1978-2000.
Prior to joining the congregation’s prayer ministry, Sister Regina helped bring the word of God to children as a Religious Education Coordinator at St. Eugene’s from 2000-2004 and as the Director of Religious Education from 2004-2014.
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May 22, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2018
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sister Michael grew up in Lawrenceville and entered the community from her home parish of St. John the Baptist. She was a Sister of St. Francis for 70 years.
Sister Michael graduated with a BA and a MA in Education from Duquesne University. She also earned a permanent certification in the field of Special Education in Pennsylvania. These degrees served her well in her ministries teaching elementary school for 36 years in schools in Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Her love of children was evident throughout her teaching career, but especially during the 12 years she spent working with Down Syndrome children at St. Anthony School in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
Sister Michael’s teaching career extended to ministering at three different day care centers. From 2009 to 2018, Sister Michael’s ministry was volunteering at Mt. Alvernia Day Care in the infant room, where in her quiet, unique way, she made both children and staff feel loved.
Sister Michael’s parents were both born in Lithuania, and the highlight of her life was to have the opportunity to spend almost a year living and ministering in the country where her parents were born. She served on various committees within her congregation, contributing her gifts wherever they were needed.
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May 22, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2018
Sister Thomas Marie, a Syracuse native, entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1947 and spent her life serving God’s people as a nurse and occupational therapist. Sister said her ministry that “God has best qualified me in the care of the sick.”
Sister received her RN from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Utica, New York in 1955 and ministered in various units of the hospital, including the medical/surgical unit and obstetrics, labor and delivery, where she was head nurse. Sister Thomas Marie also received a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Utica College in 1978 and through the years, held positions as administrator, instructor and field work coordinator in the OT field. She ministered throughout central New York, holding positions in Mercy Hospital in Auburn, Loretto Rest, St. Joseph Hospital and Maria Regina College as well as St. Francis Hospital in Hawaii.
Sister Thomas Marie will be remembered for her love of God, happy disposition, dedicated service to her congregation and her compassion toward others.
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Oct. 7, 1930 – Dec. 21, 2018
More than 35 years of Sister Eleanor Grace’s 70 years as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities was spent as a teacher and principal in schools in New York and New Jersey. She also ministered for 16 years as a Director of Religious Education in parishes in both those states as well as Connecticut. After working in the field of education, Sister Eleanor Grace also ministered as Director of Volunteers at Rosewood Heights Health Center and Director of Senior Sisters Activities. But the work most near and dear to her heart was serving as Visitor Coordinator of the Saint Marianne Cope Shrine, where she told Mother Marianne’s story to those who visited the shrine.
Her education prepared Sister Eleanor Grace for her many years teaching others — she received a bachelor’s degree in social studies and history from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York; a master’s degree in History from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania; and a Certification in Counseling from St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Sister Eleanor Grace will be remembered as a warm and caring teacher and as effective and enthusiastic in bringing people to the Catholic faith through the Rite of Christian Reception of Adults (RCRA) program.
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May 4, 1919 – Dec. 7, 2018
During her 73 years as a Sister of St. Francis, Sister Mary Gertrude ministered in health care. This native of Ogdensburg, New York received a Bachelor’s Degree in Neo-Natal Nursing at the College of Nursing at Champlain Valley Hospital, then went on to post graduate work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, earning her certification in Obstetric Nursing. She also was certified in Clinical Pastoral Education from the Andover Newton Theological School.
Sister Mary Gertrude was devoted to the mothers and babies for whom she cared; she earned the love and respect of nurses and other patients in the central New York hospitals where she ministered — St. Elizabeth’s in Utica, St. Joseph’s, and Auburn Hospital in Auburn. Known for her kindness, compassion and vision, she faithfully served her community and the people of the Diocese of Syracuse for 40 years.
After she retired, Sister Mary Gertrude liked to spend time outdoors in the sunshine, spending time with her sisters, and singing. She will be remembered for her beautiful smile and her love of the color pink.
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Oct. 5, 1935 – Nov. 22, 2018
This native of Scranton, Pennsylvania was 20 years old when she entered the Sisters of St. Francis from her home parish of St. Edward in Blawnox.
Sister Mary Agnes spent most of her 63 years as a sister in education ministry. For 12 years, she taught in various elementary schools in the Pittsburgh diocese, and spent one year as the principal of St. Ann School in Millvale. She transitioned to other ministries which included reaching at Mt. Alvernia High School and serving as Vocation Director for her community. For nine years she served as pastoral associate at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in California, Pennsylvania, where she also served in campus ministry.
Sister Mary Agnes served as a Christian Formation Consultant in the Dioceses of Greensburg and Steubenville for 14 years. In 1993, she was elected to serve on the leadership team for the sisters in Millvale and following her four-year term, she returned to the Diocese of Steubenville for seven more years as a Christian Formation Consultant. In her later years, Sister Mary Agnes ministered to her fellow sisters at Mt. Alvernia regional house.
Throughout her life, Sister Mary Agnes remained grateful to her parents for teaching her to pray. Her ministries made it possible for her to teach and encourage others to develop a strong faith in God.
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July 23, 1929 – November 11, 2018
Sister Anne Hoyer entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1958, after working several years working in office administration for companies such as Niagara Chemical, Remington Rand, A.B. Dech Co.and R.C. Neal Co. After entrance, Sister Anne earned a BS in education at Mt. St. Joseph Teachers College; for several years, she ministered as an elementary school teacher.
Sister Anne continued her education and passed the New York State Board Exams in X-ray technology, then worked as an x-ray technologist and supervisor for 22 years at St. Francis Hospital in Buffalo. In the 1980s and 90s, she returned to what she called her original career when she joined the staff of Western New York Catholic, performing editorial assistant, secretarial and clerical duties. Sister Anne also served her community, assisting in the finance office at St. Mary of the Angels region house and handling mail and filing for the sisters’ health insurance.
Sister Anne gained her love of the outdoors and sports from her father and she often could be heard cheering for the Buffalo Bills and raving about her latest favorite food. Her favorite author was the Cistercian priest and author Father Thomas Keating.
She will be remembered for her gentle handling of the sisters who visited St. Francis Hospital for x-rays, her love of centering prayer and her charitable spirit.
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August 16, 1925 – Oct. 29, 2018
Sister Marie Therese will be remembered as a reflection of the apostle Paul’s definition of love — “Love is patient, love is kind,” and as a Franciscan who possessed the persistent willingness to go where she was needed most.
Following her entry into the Sisters of St. Francis, Sister Marie Therese ministered in education, teaching elementary school and high school for 22 years, primarily in the Pittsburgh and Johnstown areas of Pennsylvania. She also ministered in Puerto Rico for six years as a high school teacher and principal. When she returned from Puerto Rico, Sister Marie Therese served as librarian and principal at St. Wendelin’s school in Carrick, Pennsylvania.
At the age of 43, Sister Marie Therese earned a master’s degree in Liberal Sciences from Duquesne University. When she left teaching, Sister served her congregation for 15 years as secretary and associate director. When she turned 72 she began a new ministry as a Montessori Classroom assistant and also worked at the Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center for 12 years. After 65 years of ministry, Sister retired in 2010 to a life of prayer at St. Francis Convent in Millvale and spent many hours in the antechapel area of the region house.
Sister Marie Therese will be remembered for her gentle spirit, her calm and peaceful demeanor and her commitment to teaching God’s little ones.
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November 11, 1932 – Oct. 7, 2018
Sister Maryellen served God in her ministries as teacher, child care supervisor and religious education instructor during her years as a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
Sister spent many years as an educator in Westchester, New York and at Mt. Loretto, a former orphanage on Staten Island, where she held many roles. For a number of years, Sister was a member of the Still Point House of Prayer community in the Saratoga, New York area, and served as formation director for the Sisters while living in Hastings-on-Hudson.
Sister Maryellen began her ministry in pastoral care at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains and continued her work with the sick at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie where she ministered until her retirement in 2004.
Sister Maryellen will be remembered for her gentle manner, her concern for others, and her dedication to her congregation and ministries.
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July 23, 1927 – Sept. 28, 2018
A Sister of St. Francis for over 70 years, Sister Grace A. Knauber was an educator who served in Western New York and Puerto Rico.
One of 10 children, Sister Grace entered the order in 1946, following her older sister, Marie, into the order. Sister Grace was originally known in religious life as Sister M. Barbara Ann; her sister became Sister Mary Leo.
Sister Grace attended Canisus College and Rosary Hill College (now Daemen, both in Buffalo, earning a bachelor’s degree in education and art in 1963. In 1971, she earned a master’s in education from the University of Puerto Rico. In 1973, she achieved a certificate in English education from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an administrative certificate from Niagara University.
Sister Grace served as a teacher in various schools throughout the Diocese of Buffalo including: St. James and St. Gerard in Buffalo; Most Holy Redeemer in Cheektowaga; SS. Peter & Paul in Hamburg; Nativity of Our Lord in Orchard Park; Fourteen Holy Helpers in Gardenville; St. Cecelia in Sheldon; Sacred Heart of Jesus in Bowmansville; St. Leo in Amherst; and St. Aloysius in Springville. Sister Grace also spent over 20 years in education in Puerto Rico, where she loved teaching English as a second language.
Sister Grace also loved to teach art and serving God’s people in all the places she ministered in both the United States and Puerto Rico.
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Aug. 29, 1927 – Sept. 12, 2018
Sister M. Jeanette Joaquin once called the 68 years she spent as a Sister of St. Francis as “years of love” working in God’s service. This native of Hawaii who attended Leilehua High School and St. Francis Convent School before entering the religious order spent decades teaching elementary school before serving in parishes and in other ministries in Hawaii.
Sister Jeanette earned a bachelor’s degree at Chaminade College of Honolulu. She devoted 25 years teaching in elementary schools in New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii where she was on the faculty of Sacred Hearts School, Lahaina; Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Pearl City; and St. Francis School, Honolulu. Sister also ministered as a teacher and social worker at St. Matthew’s School in East Syracuse, New York.
In her final 21 years of active ministry, Sister Jeanette was engaged in parish, pastoral and religious education ministries at St. Theresa Parish (now the co-cathedral), the Diocesan Office of Filipino Ministry, the Molokai Catholic Community, St. George Parish, Waimanalo, St. Francis Healthcare System and as a volunteer at the Kukui Gardens Community Center.
In 2010, on the occasion of her 60th anniversary of her entrance into the convent, she wrote, “Being a Sister of St. Francis has been years of love, support, and care in all the ministries assigned to me. It has been many years of pleasure working in his vineyard.”
Sister Jeannette gained a reputation as an excellent Oahu tour guide and she enjoyed cooking, photography, acrylic painting, and adult coloring pages. She also would often drop by the offices of the Hawaii Catholic Herald to pick up extra copies to distribute.
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Feb. 17, 1930 – Sept. 12, 2018
The youngest child of a large family, Sister Loretta entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1948 and professed her final vows in 1953. Sister Loretta served children and their families as a teacher, child care staff member, nursery school teacher, and parish minister throughout lower Westchester County in New York State. She was an educator with the Nazareth Day Nursery operated by the Sisters of St. Francis in New York City and ministered as a teacher for children with multiple handicaps at the St. Agnes Hospital Children’s Unit.
When she left education, Sister Loretta’s major ministry was serving those in need at the Hope Soup Kitchen in New Rochelle, Westchester County’s largest direct service emergency food provider and a program of the Church of the Holy Family parish.
Sister Loretta retired to the Meadowview Living Campus at The Wartburg, where she participated in the community’s ministry of prayer until called to home by God.
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November 8, 1931 – September 8, 2018
A Sister of St. Francis for 69 years, Sister Frances Ann Cimino touched and warmed the hearts of all those with whom she lived and served.
Sister Frances Ann’s ministry was one of community service and being a hostess to visitors at the Franciscan sisters’ former Guest House in Rome, Italy. She served her sisters in community by doing household duties at St. Anthony and Jolenta Convents in Syracuse, New York, and at Duns Scotus House of Studies in Washington, D.C. She also ministered at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse as a microfilm clerk. During her later years she volunteered at the congregation’s NunBetter Chocolate Shop and finally, she became a prayer minister—praying for the needs of the world, our benefactors and all of God’s people.
Sister Francis Ann will be remembered for her 69 years of loyal and devoted service to her congregation. Sister Frances Ann, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
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May 7, 1921 – September 8, 2018
Sister Mary Coleman Conroy entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale in 1948. For 28 years, she taught in various parochial elementary schools, and 22 years in secondary schools throughout Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Puerto Rico.
During her tenure as a teacher at Lawrenceville Catholic High School in the 1970’s, Sister Coleman, along with Sister Veronica Marie Phillips, spent a summer conducting a census of the area. They discovered a critical need for affordable senior housing. In collaboration with Father Paul Kuppe, OFM Cap., then auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh, Most Rev. Anthony G. Bosco and businessmen Frank and Edward Schneider, they founded Christian Housing Inc. From 1977 to 2011, Sister Coleman served as executive director for St. Augustine Plaza of Christian Housing. Throughout her life, Sister Coleman collaborated with pastors and city officials in securing federal money in order to provide affordable housing for thousands of senior adults. In 1989, Sister Coleman received the No. 2 Police Citizen Council Award in recognition for personal involvement, unselfish dedication and sincere commitment to combat crime in the community.
Sister Coleman also served on the leadership team for the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale even as she continued to advocate for senior housing. A Franciscan woman of unlimited generosity who was compelled to serve the needs of many, Sister Coleman did not shy away from challenges in her quest to provide dignity to the elderly. She saw what was needed and simply found a way to be a true instrument of peace for all people.
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June 28, 1917 – August 25, 2018
Sister Elizabeth Zagar was born and raised in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania and entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale on December 28, 1941. She professed her final vows in 1946. After earning a master’s degree in education from Duquesne University in 1967, Sister Elizabeth began teaching in the fields of math and science.
Sister Elizabeth’s teaching career spanned more than 30 years at elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and 13 years in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. At the age of 57, Sister Elizabeth took on a second career — she served as manager at the former St. Francis Plaza senior adult living community in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, and in the business office at the former St. Francis Medical Center in Lawrenceville. She retired from active ministry at the age of 85.
Sister Elizabeth will be remembered as quiet, soft-spoken and gentle of heart. During her long life, Sister Elizabeth touched countless lives and reflected the generosity of God to many. She will be remembered for her clarity of vision and simplicity of heart.
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November 18, 1926 – July 25, 2018
“If I flew to the point of sunrise, or westward across the sea, Your hand would still be guarding me, your right hand holding me.”
Sister of St. Francis for 74 years, Sister Ruth Esther was a faithful and dedicated woman, who embraced our Franciscan charism with love, prayerfulness and abundant courage while serving the Lord.
Sister Ruth Esther taught in schools in Albany, Utica, and Syracuse, New York as well as Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii. She also was the art and activities director for the St. Francis Adult Day Care in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sister Ruth Esther did research work at St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse, where she also served as a lab assistant in the Microbiology Department and later as a statistical analyst.
Especially near and dear to her heart were the years she spent in Peru as an educator and missionary. She taught religion and became director of the Parish Dispensary in Pativilca, specializing in mother-child care. In this ministry, she was instrumental in detecting, preventing and treating people with tuberculosis.
A Red Cross disaster volunteer for more than 25 years, after the 1970 Great Peruvian earthquake hit the coastal town of Chimbote, Peru, she traveled by helicopter to take census and give first aid, helping with evacuation when necessary.
Sister Ruth Esther will be remembered for her devoted service to her religious community. Those who knew and loved her remember her as a caring, loyal sister and friend. As a missionary in Peru, she will be remembered for her warm and generous outreach to her students as well as her dedicated care of the sick. She was always prepared to help in any disaster.
Rest in peace, Hermana. Goodbye, friend.
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August 6, 1922 – July 12, 2018
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you:
I have called you by your name. You are mine.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
-Isaiah 43: 2-4
For 78 years, Sister Gladys lived as a loving and dedicated member of her religious community.
As an educator, she taught in schools in Utica and Syracuse, New York as well as Lorain, Ohio and Hilo, Hawaii. She also served as principal of the Convent School in Syracuse.
For 14 years, Sister Gladys served as the resident manager of Villa San Carlos, a housing for the low-come elderly in Port Charlotte, Florida.She ministered with a kind, caring and loving heart helping those in need. Upon returning to New York, Sister Gladys served as a hospitality minister at Stella Maris Retreat Center in Skaneateles, being the gracious hostess offering that welcoming radiant smile and gentle care and love to all whom she encountered.Sister Gladys will be remembered for her many years of devoted service to the people of God. Her outgoing personality, constant smile, generous heart and sense of humor endeared her to many people.
May God hold you, Sister Gladys, in the palm of his hand.
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April 14, 1920 – July 6, 2018
Born in Utica, New York, Sister Jane Frances had been a Sister of St. Francis for 81 years.
Having earned a master’s degree in education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, Sister Jane Frances was an excellent educator whose teaching experiences began at Our Lady of Angels in Albany and then continued at grammar schools in Syracuse, Utica and in New Brunswick and Hoboken, New Jersey. At the secondary level, Sister Jane taught at Convent High School in Syracuse, Oswego Catholic High School and St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, California. She was a most influential and effective educator for 50 years, after which time she spent 21 years serving as administrative receptionist at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica.
Former co-workers describe her as a “breath of fresh air” with a bubbling personality and willingness to help others that went above and beyond. She was always filled with enthusiasm and reached out with an extra special sensitivity that endeared her to the sisters, her students, their families and those whom she encountered.
Sister Jane Frances had a special ability to laugh and make others laugh with her. Her personality and presence would light up a room.
Sister Jane Frances will always be remembered for devoting many years of service to her community and. Those who knew and loved her will remember her as a loving, loyal, caring friend.
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May 5, 1923 – June 6, 2018
An educator for 57 years, Sister Agnes Vera possessed a true Franciscan heart and a devout spirituality which evolved from her Buddhist upbringing. She gifted those who knew her with a demure smile and a penchant for organization and details.
After a year of serving in parish religious education, Sister Agnes Vera devoted the next 25 years to teaching in elementary and secondary schools in upstate New York, and Lorain, Ohio. Returning to her home state of Hawaii in 1980, she served briefly at St. Joseph Elementary School in Hilo, and then for 32 years at St. Francis School in Honolulu, until her retirement in 2013.
As an educator, she insisted that her students complete their lessons thoroughly and neatly, and she humbly credited the Holy Spirit for successfully guiding her students.
During the final decade of her career, Sister Agnes Vera taught ESL classes. She impressed others with her trivia knowledge and her wise insights into religious life. In her spare time, she created her own line of clothing known as “Fashions by Hino” on her many sewing machines.
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October 31, 1934 – May 12, 2018
A teacher, principal and superintendent, Sister Elizabeth John Timson provided leadership and education at Catholic schools in New York and New Jersey for 50 years. Wherever she served, she endeared herself to students and families, and she cherished her relationships with all of them.
In 2001 Sister Elizabeth was named congregational director of development, and later Central New York regional director of donor relations in the Mission Advancement Office of the congregation. She was gifted with the ability to get to know people and focused her efforts on congregational fundraising and sustainability. She remained dedicated to this ministry until God called her home.
In sickness and in health, Sister Elizabeth willingly and generously worked for the Lord. Now she is at peace enjoying the presence and love of the Lord to whom she dedicated her life for 65 years.
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May 27, 1921 – May 8, 2018
For most of her 80 years in religious life, Sister Anne ministered in food service at several of the community’s convents in Pittsburgh and at St. Francis Hospital in New Castle. Sister Anne was a baker and cook par excellence. Her delicious, signature sweet rolls were enjoyed by those who knew her.
A hard worker, Sister Anne was always willing to help wherever there was a need. When she served at St. Augustine Convent in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, Sister Anne learned that there were people going hungry because they were unable to shop and prepare meals for themselves. She immediately wanted to help. Taking her cooking skills beyond the convent walls, she collaborated with the pastor of St. Augustine’s Parish and many volunteers, establishing a Meals on Wheels program.
No matter where she served, Sister Anne found joy in using her skills to help others. More recently, Sister Anne’s ministry was one of prayer for the needs of God’s people. She felt that her prayer life and attendance at daily Mass gave her with the graces she was most in need of at this time of her life. She relied heavily on her favorite passage from St. Paul to the Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind…there is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.”
May the light of God surround you, the love of God enfold you as you rest in peace, Sister Anne.
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May 10,1933 – May 12, 2018
As a Sister of St. Francis for 63 years, Sister Mary ministered for many years with children, serving as a teacher and pre-school teacher in schools in Hastings-on-Hudson, Staten Island, and New York City. At the Children’s Rehab center at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, New York, Sister Mary served as a teacher’s aide.
In 1985, Sister changed ministries to serve as a receptionist for the Social Services Department at the sisters’ St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. She also worked in the hospital’s records and employee health departments.
Sister Mary retired to The Wartburg in 2014, where she joined her fellow sisters in prayer ministry until she was called home to God.
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August 6, 1915 – April 18, 2018
Sister Mary Louise will be remembered for her positive outlook on life, cheerful disposition and radiant smile. She spent most of her ministry in education, serving as an elementary teacher and principal for 54 years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Diocese of Greensburg, both in Pennsylvania. He life of teaching took some interesting turns, especially as principal and teacher at St. Sebastian School in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania. There she opened a new school with just two grades; Sister taught the second grade. Each year for the next six years, the school added another grade; Sister Mary Louise progressed with her class to the next level, all the way to the eighth grade.
After her years in teaching, Sister Mary Louise moved to a new ministry as receptionist at St. Francis Medical Center in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. In 2002, she joined the sisters at Mount Alvernia in their prayer ministry. Sister Mary Louise enjoyed staying in touch with people and she found enjoyment in taking part in the services provided by the LIFE Pittsburgh Center. There, she listened to the stories of the other participants and shared her own experiences. The other participants and staff were among her fans.
When she reached age 102, Sister shared her secret for a long life — “Don’t Worry!”
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November 13, 1933 – March 14, 2018
Born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Sister Margaret Antone Milho, was known for her vivacious smile, graceful hula and beautiful voice.
Reflecting on the 60th anniversary of her first vows in 2013, Sister Margaret Antone said, “The one thing in my religious life that makes me feel ‘special’ is the constant and continuous love of God that keeps coming my way through people, places and events.”
“Many times God’s gifts come as delightful surprises in the love of others and in others receiving God’s love through me,” she said. “This joyous love of God comes as waves over my life and I feel beautiful … I am grateful.”
A Sister of St. Francis for 65 years, Sister Margaret Antone spent 60 years in Catholic schools as a teacher, counselor and administrator. She taught at St. Rose of Lima School, Syracuse, New York; St. Joseph School, Camden, New Jersey; St. Stanislaus School, Castle Hayne, North Carolina; and St. Joseph School, Hilo, Hawaii.
She was principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Ewa Beach, Hawaii; Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Pearl City, Hawaii; St. Francis High School, Manoa, Hawaii; Our Lady of Sorrows School, Binghamton, New York; St. Peter School, Utica, New York; and St. Patrick School, Syracuse.
Recently, she served as a counselor at St. Francis Middle School, Manoa.
In all these places she was noted for her dedication to her students. She was also recognized for her love of French.
-Excerpted from the Hawaii Catholic Herald
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February 5, 1932 – March 4, 2018
We are so close to God that we are carved on the
palm of God’s hand, and we will never be forgotten by God.(ref. Isaiah 49: 14-16)
From East Syracuse to Gloversville, Cohoes and Utica, Sister David Marie Kelly educated children in central New York for more than 50 years. Most recently, she served as a teacher for 24 years at Immaculate Conception School in Fayetteville, where she was dearly loved and respected as a fine educator.
Wherever she served, Sister David Marie loved her students and they loved her. She will be remembered for her great sense of humor, her faithfulness and her dedication to Franciscan community life, ministry and to her family.
May God hold you, Sister David Marie, in the palm of his hand.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister David Marie Kelly.
April 5, 1924 – March 1, 2018
On March 1, 2018, the Lord showed Sister Edward Marie the way to walk. All her religious life, Sister lifted up her soul to her God and followed Him.
A teacher and principal for more than 30 years, Sister Edward Marie Seubert served in elementary and secondary schools in Syracuse, Utica, Amsterdam, Albany,and Oswego in the state of New York. She also taught in Riverside and New Brunswick in New Jersey.
From 1978 to 1989, she served as treasurer of Maria Regina College in Syracuse. Sister Edward Marie then became involved in various service activities within her congregation.
Sister Edward Marie possessed a great love of God, her sisters in community and family. She was a member of the Hospice Harmony singers and her congregation’s Bell Choir. She will be remembered for her love of God’s sunshine and the outdoors, her endless wit, her singing and playing the violin.
Sister Edward Marie, rest in God’s peace.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Edward Marie Seubert.
June 8, 1928 – February 20, 2018
For more than 40 years, Sister Jane ministered as a teacher and principal in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and in the Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She then traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to work inpastoral ministry on the island of St. Croix. Upon her return to Pittsburgh in 1987, she continued working in pastoral ministry for eight years. For the next four years, she served as formation director for her congregation, helping to prepare women to become Sisters of St. Francis. During this time she also served as director of Franciscan associates, a program giving lay women and men an opportunity to share in the sisters’ mission and spirit.
In 1999, Sister Jane founded and served as director of Tabor House of Prayer where she ministered for 16 years. She companioned people on their spiritual journeys as retreat director, spiritual director, and centering prayer facilitator. Always gracious and grateful, Sister Jane loved to create simple, yet eloquent, welcoming surroundings for others. She will be remembered for her deep spirituality and the many ways she empowered others to grow in their relationship with God, self and others, especially through the practice of centering prayer.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Jand Schmitt.
April 12, 1938 – February 6, 2018
Born on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Sister Joan E. Souza, ministered at Catholic schools and religious education departments in Hawaii and in New York. Famous for her “ono delicious” cookies and bottled jams and jellies, this year marks her 60th anniversary in religious life.Sister Joan Souza-16389
In 2008, on the occasion of her 50th anniversary as a woman religious, Sister Joan wrote, “I always loved going to church in Eleele, Kauai, where I made my first Holy Communion. I told Jesus I would ‘always love him like Father Henry did.’”
“So when I attended St. Francis Convent School as a boarder where the Franciscan Sisters were always with us — they were loving, caring and sharing women who seemed to love Jesus so much, much as I did,” she said. “Thus I joined the Sisters of St. Francis.”
Sister Joan earned a bachelor’s degree from Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1972. She was also a certified nurse aid.
While in New York, she served at St. Margaret, Mattydale; Our Lady of Angels, Albany; Christ the King, Liverpool; St. John, Oswego, St. Michael and St. Peter in Syracuse. In Hawaii she ministered at St. Joseph School, Hilo; Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Pearl City; Aloha Care, Honolulu, Hawaii; St. Francis, Manoa, Hawaii and at St. Michael School, Waialua, where she was a pre-school teacher.
Most recently she worked as a sacristan and a receptionist at St. Francis Healthcare Systems of Hawaii. While receiving care at hospice, she reached out to other patients and their families.
-Excerpted from the Hawaii Catholic Herald
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Joan Souza.
August 8, 1925 – February 4, 2018
A Sister of St. Francis for 73 years, for 19 yearsSister Bernadette Lavocat taught children at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo
including: St. Gerard’s, St. Mary of Sorrows, St. Nicholas, St. Francis of Assisi and Most Holy Redeemer
in Buffalo; St. Francis in Tonawanda and Infant of Prague in Cheektowaga. In 1965,Sister Bernadette began working in community service ministry at St. Mary of the Angels, the home of
the Sisters of St. Francis in Williamsville, New York. Here she served as sacristan and in food service. Most recently, Sister Bernadette’s ministry has been one of prayer and loving presence.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister M. Bernadette Lavocat.
November 6, 1940 – February 3, 2018
She brought expertise in organizational dynamics as she helped groups such as her own religious order navigate seismic social changes.
But as painful and tense as those changes could be, she could lighten the atmosphere by drawing from her quick wit and a storehouse of memorized passages from Shakespeare.
In more than 59 years as a Franciscan, she worked as a schoolteacher and principal, internationally known organizational consultant, executive director of the Franciscan Federation,
community minister of her congregation and associate director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious.
“She had a keen mind in her ability to analyze and see dynamics that were going on,” said her longtime colleague and fellow Franciscan, Sister Margaret Carney. “But she had a sense of humor that was absolutely delightful.”
Numerous religious orders and other organizations consulted her as they navigated massive social and institutional change.
Sister Ann entered the Franciscans in 1958. She earned a bachelor’s of arts at Carlow College; a master’s of arts at St. Louis University, with focuses on Shakespeare and educational administration; and eventually a doctorate in human and organizational development at the Fielding Institute in California.
She taught for 14 years in Catholic schools around Johnstown, Butler and Pittsburgh.
In her role as the associate director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious, she was the first woman to hold such a position in 41 years. She also worked in the planning office of the Missionary Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers in Pittsburgh.
“Sister Ann’s gift of service to her sisters, to Franciscans and to religious orders addressing the challenges of funding retirement is no less than extraordinary,” said Sister Bernadette Schaad, minister, Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. “A life-long learner, she was driven to achieve excellence, and what she achieved, she shared with others. A true servant leader, Sister Ann was a woman of vision and compassion. She will be remembered fondly by all whose lives she touched.”
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Ann Carville.
October 1, 1920 – January 8, 2018
After earning a master’s degree in education, Sister Adele Bullock dedicated 40 years of her life to serving as a teacher and vice-principal of Catholic schools in New York, Florida, California, New Mexico, and Hawaii.
Her life’s journey continued at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica, New York where she served as director of volunteers; Blessed Sacrament Parish in Margate, New Jersey where she served as parish minister; and Villa San Carlos II, a HUD senior living community in Port Charlotte, Florida where she served as receptionist. In 2009, Sister Adele returned to Syracuse where she served in our prayer ministry.
With her beautiful smile, Sister Adele brought her enthusiasm for life wherever she served. She loved her religious community and was always willing to serve others. Her joyful spirit and deep faith carried her through the difficult times of her life.
Sister Adele, may you rest in God’s peace!
Click here to make a donation in memory of Sister M. Adele Bullock.
July 21, 1937 – January 7, 2018
A Sister of St. Francis for 62 years, Sister Rose Renna earned a bachelor’s degree in education from State University of New York at Oswego, a master’s in liturgical music from Catholic University of America and a master’s in nursing from Catholic University of America.
Her early years in ministry found her teaching in schools in Syracuse and Utica, New York as well as Camden and Hoboken, New Jersey. Sister Rose Ann was a nurse at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse.
While at St. Joseph’s, she served as the assistant director of nurses and vice president for ethics and mission effectiveness and later vice president for mission services. Sister Rose also used her talents in nursing to be a part time faculty member at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
Her musical talents led her to become the director of music for the Diocese of Syracuse and the organist at the former St. Anthony Convent Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis, as well as accompanist for the Hospice Harmony Singers.
Her leadership skills were tapped when she was elected a general councilor on the Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Francis.
Sister Rose will be remembered for her heartwarming smile, gentleness, musical talent, friendliness, encouraging manner, teaching skills and her compassion for others.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Rose Ann Renna.
February 2, 1924 – December 15, 2017
Born and raised in Utica, New York, Sister Mary Nicholas Amodio’s beautiful, spontaneous smile spoke of the inner life she lived.
After professing her perpetual vows in 1950, Sister Mary Nicholas she served as a religion teacher and director of religious education in the Diocese of Syracuse’s Eastern Region for 32 years.
Her journey continued at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, New York where she served as chaplain for 13 years. She also ministered as chaplain at Mercy Rehab Center in Auburn, New York and prison chaplain in Taft, California.
Returning to the Diocese of Syracuse, Sister Mary Nicholas served as parish minister at St. Patrick’s Parish in Clayville and St. Mary of Mount Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish in Utica, her home parish. One of her loves was teaching the Life in the Spirit seminars, where she helped people to live in the Spirit and deepen their relationships with Christ.
Just as she lived each day with grace, Sister Mary Nicholas died a grace-filled woman. She will be remembered for reaching out to all people and giving each one the spiritual gifts of peace and the love of the Christ, whom she faithfully followed her entire life.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Mary Nicholas Amodio.
Oct. 13, 1928 – Dec. 6, 2017
Born in New York City, Sister Ann entered the Sisters of St. Francis at Hastings on Hudson in 1950 and professed final vows in 1955. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Fordham University.
Sister Ann was a devoted teacher, supervisor of child care, parish minister and volunteer. She taught at St. Catharine’s School, Pelham, 1952-1960; St. Eugene’s, Yonkers, 1960-1970; and Immaculate Conception, Tuckahoe, 1970-1972, and she was principal of Our Lady of Loretto, Cold Springs, 1972-1976. She was the principal of the former Our Lady of Loretto School in Cold Spring, N.Y., from 1972 to 1976, and also at a school in Pennsylvania.
Sister Ann volunteered at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (Mount Loretto), Staten Island, 1990-1994, after which she was a supervisor of community resources for the developmentally disabled on Staten Island. She was honored many times for her work promoting breast care awareness.
Sister Ann had a spirit of dedication to the communities she served. Her ministry most recently involved volunteering for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all the residents of Clove Lakes. She prided herself in knowing everyone’s name, room, and which Eucharistic minister they preferred to visit with them.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Ann Murtagh.
May 18, 1928 – November 24, 2017
“Oh, only for a short while you have loaned us to each other, because we take form in your act of drawing us.” – Joyce Rupp
A missionary with a pilgrim’s heart, Sister Francis Clare was born in Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii to Antonia Abuyan and Carpio de Gracia from the Philippines. “I always wanted to be a missionary,” Sister Francis Clare said in a 2015 interview.
In 1946 after graduating from St. Francis High School in Honolulu (Manoa), Hawaii, Sister Francis Clare received her private pilot license certification. “I used to fly and think a lot about life,” she said. “You go up there and you fly around and it gets you thinking.”
It was during this time of reflecting that Sister Francis Clare felt God calling her to religious life. After joining the Sisters of St. Francis from her home parish of Holy Cross in San Juan, Rizal, Philippines, Sister Francis Clare professed her final vows in 1955. She began serving in education ministry as a teacher in New York and Hawaii.
Then in 1967, her pilgrim’s journey began. This was her passion — missionary work in Peru! For more than 40 years, Sister Francis Clare served the people of Peru through her ministries of education and social work. In 2005, she helped to establish a Montessori School for children in Quebrada Verde, Lima, which was renamed Esculla Francis Clare in her honor following her death.
Sister Francis Clare also helped a group of Peruvians to build a bakery, empowering them to become financially sustainable. She continually advocated for people experiencing poverty and helped them in their time of need.
Sister Francis Clare’s life reflected the Franciscan ideals of poverty and simplicity, and she truly lived the Gospel message. She leaves behind a legacy of steadfast love and compassion. Her efforts for the people of Peru will never be forgotten.
Sister Francis Clare, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Francis Clare de Gracia.
June 23, 1926 – September 20, 2017
A native of Buffalo, New York, Sister Rita Marie Nigro attended area schools, incluing public School #38, Holy Angels School and graduated from the city’s Nardin Academy. She attended college at Mount St. Joseph Teachers College (now Medaille College), also in Buffalo.
Sister Rita Marie entered the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child just three years after her twin sister entered. She ministered in parish schools for 19 years, teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary and Our Lady of Loretto in Buffalo, and served as principal of Our Lady of Miracles School in Brooklyn.
In 1971, Sister Rita Marie was assigned to Our Lady of Fatima Mission Center in Cattaraugus, New York. From there, she and the sisters with her traveled every weekend to 10 different towns to teach religious education. Their classrooms were in rectories, church halls, kitchens, parlors, public schools and even a school bus. Sister served in this ministry for 30 years. Sister also took parish census for a number of parishes in the Buffalo diocese.
After 56 years as a Sister of the Divine Child, Sister Rita Marie became a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities when the two religious congregations merged. She spent her later years serving the chapel at St. Mary of the Angels region house in Williamsville and as a member of her congregation’s prayer ministry. Sister Rita Marie will be remembered for the many children she brought to Christ through her commitment to religious education.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Rita Marie Nigro.
June 12, 1935 – October 29, 2017
Through her ministries in health care and education, Sister Dolores Sevilla dedicated her life to caring for children. Early in her vocation, as a certified baby nurse, she cared for newborn and premature babies at St. Mary’s Hospital in Orange, New Jersey and Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, New York. For more than 50 years, she educated children at Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe, New York; St. Joseph by the Sea High School in Staten Island, New York; and Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto in Staten Island, New York, where she also served as prefect.
Born and raised in New York City, Sister Dolores was a woman of deep faith and devotion to God. “I pray to see the Divine Child in every child I serve,” she said.
Sister Dolores truly embodied the Franciscan spirit, bringing the light of God to all those she encountered. She was especially devoted to Catholic education as well as her family and friends.
Now, Sister Dolores is reaping rewards in heaven from the God she served so well.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister M. Dolores Sevilla.
July 6, 1913 – September 10, 2017
In Matthew’s gospel, there is a parable that speaks of “the Kingdom of heaven like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one of great price, he sells all that he has to buy it.”
Sister Mary Nelson truly is that pearl of great price. Her character, compassion, kindness, self-sacrificing nature, empathy for others, her warm heartedness…. – all pearls of great price. She was baptized Mary Felicitas Harlach, and she embodied the meaning of her middle name: Felicitas – contented, joyful, happy.
From her early childhood years, she had desired to become a woman religious like the sisters who were her teachers. “They were an inspiration and motivation for me” she said. So, finally after helping her family get through hard times during the Great Depression, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1942 at 29 years of age.
She never regretted the long wait, as she said “it prepared her to cope with life in many situations, being rewarded with peace and the conviction that she had assisted her parents in their need.
Assisting others in their need became the trademark of this pearl of great price, now known in religious life as Sister Mary Nelson, named after Venerable Nelson Baker, whom she knew and admired.
From 1945 through 1963, she taught children and served as principal in schools in North Java, East Eden, Sheldon and Springbrook. From 1965 through 1988, she was principal of Sts Peter & Paul in Hamburg, St. Gerard’s and finally at Queen of Heaven in West Seneca.
For the next 17 years, Sister Mary Nelson took on the role of pastoral care giver to the homebound in West Seneca and ultimately to the residents at St. Francis Geriatric in Buffalo for which her very nature of compassion and empathy more than qualified her.
In 2005, she moved to St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville, where she continued to minister with sisters, and in a special way with nurses and staff in the Health Center.
Sister Mary wrote the most beautiful messages of support to so many people; whether they were due to sickness, need for employment, children’s issues, etc. She actually owned a little book where she wrote the names of persons asking for prayers, as well as the specific intention so as not to forget anyone.
This was a woman of great character, truly a pearl of great wisdom, devotion, kindness and compassion. A pearl of very great price. I am sure she has found her own pearl of great price in God’s eternal kingdom.
Rest in peace, dear sister.
Adapted from Sister Mary Nelson’s Eulogy, written by Sister Marian Rose Mansius
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Mary Nelson.
June 15, 1929 – September 4, 2017
Sister Ann Cecilia Heise spent a lifetime loving her God, just as God loved her. A Sister of St. Francis for 65 years, she served God and others with great faith and trust. We will remember her for quiet, gentle spirit, her love of God and community, generosity, loyalty, and kindness.
As a teacher and principal for 44 years, Sister Ann Cecilia gave thousands of children the gift of an education. From Amsterdam, Dewitt, Syracuse, Utica and Whitesboro, New York to Camden and Hoboken, New Jersey, Sister Ann Cecelia exuded the Franciscan spirit along the way.
In 1997, Sister Ann Cecilia served as assistant administrator at Prince of Peace Villas, a senior adult living community in Ormond Beach, Florida. In 2006, she returned to Syracuse to serve in the congregation’s Finance Office and NunBetter Chocolates sponsored ministry.
Sister Ann Cecilia, may God hold you in his loving hands.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Ann Cecilia Heise.
July 22, 1941 – June 28, 2017
Born in Montgomery, Alabama and raised in Utica, New York, we remember Sister Lorraine James for her vivacious personality and the love that she had in her heart for God and her Franciscan community.
An educator for 33 years in California, New York and New Jersey, she also served for 10 years in the Medical Records Department of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse as well as the Northside Poverello Clinic in Syracuse.
Sister Lorraine loved to sing. For many years, she sang with the Hospice Harmony Singers in Syracuse. She delighted in her Lebanese heritage and celebrated with family in song, dance, and good food.
May God hold you in the palm of his hand, Sister Lorraine.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Lorraine James.
December 30, 1931 – June 25, 2017
“You yourselves have seen how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.” (Ex. 19:14)
Sister Lina lived her life, quiet, unassuming, smiling at all who greeted her and giving forth the essence of God, an infinite part of her. This is how she left her earthly bounds on June 25t\ 2017. She left to complete her journey to her.Go d, who was the inner part of her heart.
She was born in Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii to Robert Garcia and Antonia Saming Pagdilao. She was named Rizalina.
From her home parish, St. Michael Church in Waialua, Rizalina Pagdilao entered the Syracuse Franciscans on September 2, 1952. Her date of of investiture was March 3, 1953, and her final profession date was August 16, 1958.
Her ministry was education. Sister received a bachelor’s degree in education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, and a master’s degree from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. For over 50 years, Sister taught in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York state.
Returning to the Motherhouse in Syracuse in 2007, Sister worked for Nunbetter Chocolates. When the Motherhouse on Court Street closed, the sisters moved to the Franciscan Villa, and Sister Lina continued doing community service for the sisters with whom she lived.
For Sister Lina’s remaining years she lived a life of prayer, love of her Hawaii, and always greeting people with leis. She displayed devotion to her community by the manner in which she quietly went about doing good for others.
God hold you in the palm of His hand, Lina
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Lina (Rizalina) Pagdilao.
June 7, 1936 – April 6, 2017
The life of Sister Joanne was no less than extraordinary, yet profoundly and simply Franciscan. She was a teacher, nurse, senior living community manager, minister, and leader. But most important, Joanne was a holy woman who will always be remembered for her servant leadership.
Sister Joanne served many years in leadership with our community and in this role, she became sister and servant to all. In the days of renewal and revitalization, she encouraged us to dream again and to reawaken in ourselves a passion for the Gospel life. We are fortunate to have a number of her written reflections for the community. Several of these articles emphasize a desire to embrace the future and to be peacemakers, especially to the most vulnerable. Her style was never to possess power, but to realize that power is for each other and within each other.
According to Sister Joanne, the greatest gift of God is the desire for renewed life. Her entire life was a testimony of this gift, as she encouraged others to desire it and to live into their deepest hopes and dreams. Although she earned numerous degrees and certifications, she once wrote that her best sources of wisdom were found in her sisters. She truly learned the uncommon and not-well-understood beauty of living religious life to the fullest even when one is ill and dependent.
We can now say that Sister Joanne completed her journey to God. She followed Francis by rejecting no one and seeing Christ in all. During her life, she cared for the sick, ministered to victims of AIDS, led her sisters through times of renewal, and ministered to the dying. In her living, she offered compassion to others and in her dying she expressed only gratitude. Her final wish empathized this. “I want my funeral to be a celebration,” she said with conviction as she returned from her care center for the final time. In her final days, she expressed only gratitude as she awaited that final embrace of God.
It is providential that Sister Joanne left us at this time of spring, a time of new life and renewal. We await and prepare for the most sacred time of Holy Week only to celebrate a most holy woman. In Christ’s dying and in Joanne’s dying, we believe in the promise of new life. And so with God and with Joanne, we celebrate.
May she rest peacefully in the loving arms of God.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Joanne Bich.
August 13, 1919 – March 8, 2017
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name, you are mine.” (Is. 43:2-4)
Born and raised in Utica, New York, Sister Mary Kevin DeTore joined the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, New York in 1951. For the next 66 years, she faithfully journeyed with God, serving others with great love and determination.
Sister Mary Kevin taught the faith and academics to countless numbers of students in Catholic schools in New York and New Jersey for more than 35 years. In 1983, she began serving in health care at Loretto Rest, a home for senior adults in Syracuse. She continued serving in health care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse and finally at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, New York, where she also served in pastoral care and as an administrative assistant.
Beginning in 2000, Sister Mary Kevin dedicated the remainder of her life to prayer ministry, bringing Christ to people through prayer.
Sister Mary Kevin will be remembered for her dedicated service to God’s people, her devotion to her family and her wonderful sense of humor.
Sister Mary Kevin, rest in God’s peace.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Mary Kevin DeTore.
May 25, 1934 – March 7, 2017
A long-time teacher, Sister Margaret Anthony Domin’s own education began in a little red school house in the Boston, New York countryside, where she completed grades one through three. The schoolhouse itself had special significance to the Domin family since it was built on land that was part of the family farm.
From these simple beginnings, Sister Margaret Anthony went on to enter the Sisters of St. Francis in Buffalo in 1952 and eventually earned a master’s degree in education from State University College at Buffalo.
For 37 years, she ministered as a teacher at elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo including St. James and Holy Name in Buffalo, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Silver Creek, St. John the Baptist in West Valley, Sts. Peter & Paul in Hamburg, St. Francis of Assisi in Tonawanda, St. Mary’s in Lancaster, Nativity in Orchard Park, Most Holy Redeemer in Cheektowaga, Annunciation in Elma, Queen of Heaven in West Seneca and St. Leo the Great in Amherst. Most recently, she served as pastoral care minister and service coordinator at Holy Family Home in Williamsville, New York.
A faithful servant who shaped the lives of countless numbers of children, leading them toward the kingdom of God, we celebrate the life of Sister Margaret Anthony. May God hold her in the palm of his hand.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Margaret Anthony Domin.
Dec. 9, 1922 – March 4, 2017
Sister Carmen Puhl left behind a godly legacy.
Welcome home, Sister Carmen Puhl, OSF
As we mourn the March 4 passing of our dear Sister Carmen, we also celebrate with joy a life truly dedicated to the service of all God’s people.
Her ministry in New Castle as a nurse at St. Francis Hospital, nursing home administrator at Hill View Manor and co-founder (along with Dr. John Prioletti) of St. Francis Hospice, brought to the canvas of nursing the colors of compassion, integrity, vision, transcultural love, and a deep conviction that every person in whatever stage of mental or physical incapacity deserved equal respect and dignity.
It was apparent to those who saw her in action that she acknowledged that God temple in everyone to whom she ministered. The memory of her, which will forever be etched in our minds, is of one who had a special love for those afflicted with AIDS, of one who compassionately held the hand of the man or woman dying in hospice, or the times when she quietly and patiently without judgment listened to one baring his or her soul, or the memory of working with her on the first Peace and Justice Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis.
Upon retiring from nursing, Sister Carmen went on to offer her services at Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center in Millvale, where she joyfully rocked the tiny babies, providing much TLC.
Yes, we will keep your memory alive, Sister Carmen, in our attempts to follow your example until we, too, experience the loving caress of a God who welcomes each one of us with open arms.
Anyone wishing to remember Sister Carmen in a special way, may make a donation in her memory to the Sisters of St. Francis Ministry, Formation or Retirement Fund, 146 Hawthorne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15209.
– Sister Shirley Huff, OSF
Originally published in the March 28 edition of the New Castle News
October 8, 1913 – February 8, 2017
One of the songs Sister Ellen chose for her funeral liturgy, “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman” truly speaks to us not only of our holy Mother Mary, but also of Sister Ellen herself. “Gentle woman, quiet light, shining star, so strong and bright; gentle woman, peaceful presence, teach us wisdom, teach us love.” This quiet, gentle woman was also strong, peaceful and wise. In her 87 years in the community, Sister Ellen travelled along many paths: teaching God’s little ones in first, second and/or third grades; as elementary school principal, as postulant directress, as home care provider for her dear mother during the latter’s last years. Mr. Vince Cinski, the present mayor of Millvale, recalls loving memories of her as his first grade teacher.
When she returned to the regional house, she continued her care of others, ministering to them when and however she could. She was always happy when she could in some way help to lift the spirits of others and encourage them in their efforts to do good. She enjoyed interacting with the sisters, keeping up with the news and relating stories from her past years. She helped to develop programs for the senior sisters, endeavoring to keep them active and healthy. She continued in community service until a stroke confined her to the health care unit for the next nine years.
As a patient, Sister Ellen was a model of peace and patience in long-suffering, still talking with other sisters as much and as long as she was able. And later, she continued to minister to each one of us without ever having to say a word. Sister Ellen found great peace in her prayer life – quiet times with the Lord, community prayers with the other sisters, and enjoying God’s beauty and presence in all creation.
On Feb. 8, Sister Ellen entered into eternal life, into the loving embrace of the Lord, into an eternal encounter where she is welcomed as a gentle woman, strong and bright, a peaceful presence who has taught us wisdom – taught us love.
Click here to make a gift in memory of Sister Ellen Gresock (Sister M. Neri).