Sister Agnes Alphonse Finamore, CSJ
Rosemary Agnes Finamore was born to Agnes and Alphones Finamore on Sept 2, 1919. She grew up in St. Ephem’s Parish in Brooklyn and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Feb 2 1940. In Sept of 1941 she began her teaching career at St. Francis Xavier parish in Park Slope – a double grade of 3B/4A. It’s likely there were 60 children in the room. As a new teacher that had to be a challenge.
Agnes pursued a Bachelors and a Masters degree at St. Johns University as most sisters did then by going to school in the afternoons, evenings and on Saturdays. Her academic love was math and specifically algebra – even to the point of signing her own name in algebraic when she wrote little personal notes to people.
In the course of her life as a Sister of St Joseph she lived in 17 different houses, three of them in PR where she spent 5 years teaching upper school math. Back in the States she reached out to do the “more” along with the daily work of teaching elementary school and later high school. Agnes taught the Sisters attending Brentwood College modern math on Saturdays, and the Sisters were always grateful to hear that she would be their teacher. She taught Math to the Employees of the Telephone Company at Willoughby Street two nights a week. In Epiphany parish she taught evening classes to Spanish speaking adults who were preparing for their High School Equivalency test. She was a quiet Sister of the neighborhood who saw the needs and responded.
Agnes was Principal of Blessed Sacrament School in Brooklyn between her eleven years as a high school math teacher. Then in 1974 she became the superior of the Nurses Residence in Maria Regina. That was a time when almost all of the care in the house was provided by Sisters. Agnes was appreciated as a sensitive and sensible guide to the women who served here. She helped them create a small community of support and service. They led a daily routine that recognized the special needs of fulltime nursing caregivers and she was a personal support to each of them. She loved a party and celebrated every occasion – if there wasn’t one on the horizon she’d make one up. While she served as superior she also held a full time job as secretary to the Director of Nursing and on the side she did payroll and the nursing schedule –both of which require constant vigilance.
Agnes was a woman who did everything well and made no fuss about it. She was valued by her Sisters in Community and the people she served. In recent times Agnes seemed to have withdrawn into herself but anyone who encountered her had the sense that she was not in there alone. The peace and ease of her presence gave you the sense that the God who was the companion of her whole life was very present to her.
Sister Agnes Alphonse Finamore, CSJ died on April 25, 2016 in the 77th year of her religious life.