Catherine Touhy entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 8,1944 and at Reception she received the name Sister St. Alphonsus. She spent spent 69 years in religious life teaching in high schools in Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, and in the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. In her later years she served in hospital settings and in the areas of finance and pastoral ministry.
To prepare for ministry, Catherine earned a BS in Biology/Math and Physics from St. Joseph College and an MS in Science Education from St. John’s University.
Like the prophet Jeremiah, Catherine felt early in her life a call to live in communion with God and in service to whom God sent into her life. “Go now to those to whom I send you and say whatever I command you.” To Catherine that meant to communicate to each one in large and small ways that God loved them, that they were special, and that they had the inner resources to be the best person they could be. Teaching was for her a means to relate to her students and colleagues. She set high standards for excellence because she knew that life’s journey was filled with challenges and she wanted them to be prepared. Her gracious, loving and attentive manner assured them that they had a companion on the way.
Catherine’s family was very important to her. She was attentive to her sister, Nancy and to her many nieces and nephews and their families. As we heard last evening “Fonses’” Saturday morning visits were particularly memorable as she awakened the children earlier than they would have liked to organize housekeeping teams. Friends knew to call on them later in the day.
She loved a good time and looked forward to the celebrations of family milestones. She also enjoyed being a loyal and enthusiastic fan of the Mets. Through the years her thoughtful cards and notes were remembered and treasured.
As Sisters of St. Joseph living in community we also shared in Catherine’s gifts. She was always, gracious, kind, supportive, and interested in the lives of each one she met. Catherine also kept herself informed as to how the mission of the congregation was being advanced. As a congregation we commit ourselves to facilitate unity, reconciliation, and love of the dear neighbor without distinction. In her quiet way Catherine spent her life doing just that, touching many lives in each of her ministries.
Catherine, we thank you for being a gift in our lives and for being a sign of God’s compassionate love. May you enjoy with all who have gone before the kingdom that has been prepared for those who love God.