We celebrate the life of Charlotte Maria Shinnick, a Sister of St. Joseph for sixty-three years. Charlotte lived each one of those years deeply aware of the mission of our congregation to foster unity through love of God and neighbor without distinction. Through caring and compassionate relationships, Charlotte welcomed, nurtured and encouraged countless children and adults as loving sister to her ten siblings, Joanie and Catherine here with us today, as Aunt Pidge, as teacher and mentor.
Relationships were key in Charlotte’s life as one of eleven children born to Charlotte and Patrick in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1954 and began her ministry as teacher in St. John the Evangelist in Brooklyn. Teaching young children, Charlotte’s welcoming manner and warm smile was a sign of God’s loving care to thousands of children and their parents. After ministering in St. Anne’s parish school in Brentwood, Charlotte began her forty-four year ministry at St. Patrick’s parish in Smithtown.
Teaching second grade for so many years there, Charlotte prepared countless children to receive their first Holy Communion and first penance. How fortunate for those families who could sense the strength Charlotte had being rooted and grounded in God’s love as St. Paul describes in the first reading of our liturgy. She found multiple ways of ministering to the youth in the parish and was Moderator of the Brownie and Girl Scouts at St. Patrick’s for thirty-one years. It was always Charlotte’s desire to be with the people of the parish and in her later years she faithfully served as lector at morning mass.
A sister of the neighborhood, Charlotte was known to so many in the parish and I had the privilege of attending a parish celebration at St. Patrick’s honoring the Sisters of St. Joseph who ministered there. Charlotte was able to attend and family after family told stories of how Charlotte influenced their lives and was present for the joyful times and through the challenging times. Her smile was radiant that day and her joy bubbled forth as she spoke with so many who came to greet her.
Now it is our turn to thank Charlotte for her generosity, humor, inspiration and love. As Charlotte gave of herself without reserve, we promise to be that same joy-filled, welcoming presence to others. We rejoice with her as she is welcomed by the God who loved her from the beginning and with whom she now rejoices.
Sister Charlotte Maria Shinnick, CSJ died on August 26, 2017 in the 63rd year of her religious life.