Sister Cecilia Ann McGuire, CSJ
We celebrate the beautiful life of Sister Cecilia Ann McGuire, a Sister of St. Joseph for 47 years and a Bernardine Franciscan for 27 years ~ for a total of 74 wonderful years as a religious.
Born to John and Ellen McGuire, Irish immigrants from County Mayo, Celie and her 5 sisters, Nancy, Marie, Kathleen, Margie and Eileen grew up in Philadelphia in a home marked by deep faith and valued family traditions. .
The fact that Celie Ann was a twin was her greatest treasure and until she drew her last breath that important fact defined her life. Her twin, Kathleen, was a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart, Sister Ann Cecilia. Their lives, even their names, were united by a lively faith and deep friendship with each other and their loving God.
Celie lived 27 fruitful years as a Bernardine Franciscan Sister. While on a leave to care for family, Celie experienced the lived charism of our sisters in Most Precious Blood Convent and school in Astoria and the rest is history. She transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph, always praising our Providential God.
Teaching young children was the joy of Celie’s ministry. Her gift of music enlivened her children with a deep sense of the sacred and an awareness of the beauty of all creation.
Ministering at St. Joseph’s, Hewlett, Our Lady of the Hamptons, The Montessori School and The Learning Connection in Brentwood, Celie’s calm demeanor, kindness and deep love of God and neighbor characterized her daily life. Her gentle presence, simplicity of life, and welcoming smile endeared her to all.
Calling St. Joseph Convent her home for the past 25 years, Celie’s unassuming manner enriched the community with her prayerful presence, inclusive love and appreciative engagement in all activities.
S. Tesa Fitzgerald, CSJ
Sister Josephine will now share a personal reflection.
On the back of our Memorial Card, there are four words that describe how we live our life. They are “simple, prayerful, courageous and compassionate.” I met Sister Celie Ann twenty years ago when I came to minister here in Brentwood. My first conversation with Celie was about a sale the sisters were preparing for in order to clear out the attic. It was quite a sale. Celie sat with Angie Coughlin and Catherine Anita trying to decide what price to put on each item. The conversation was hilarious because they couldn’t come up with a common price. Why? Because they didn’t want to overprice something. Meanwhile, each item was marked between 10 cents and a dollar. This adventure went on for many years until Celie’s friends passed away and she, in her aging, became cognitively impaired.
Until recently, Celie lived here in the convent on the second floor in the Bethany Community ~ a community of our sisters who have special needs. Each sister, at her advanced age lives very simply and prayerfully. Each day they attend mass together and every day at 3:15 they pray the rosary as a community. Their attentiveness to each other is truly a lesson in compassion, one for another.
As time went on, Celie needed more assistance and had to depend on her aides as she became more disabled. Celie taught all those around her that the courage needed to prepare for the next step depended on just being who she was in the present moment. Celie missed her twin sister every day. In order to comfort her, the staff in recreation gave her a baby doll. The smile on Celie’s face was such a gift to everyone. She talked to her sister or whoever the doll represented at the moment, and it was okay! Peace was in her heart!
Because Celie lived her life simply and prayerfully, she had the courage to face her aging and continued cognitive impairment with gentleness and compassion.
Josephine Daspro, CSJ
Sister Cecilia Ann McGuire, CSJ died on September 12, 2022 in the 47th year of her religious life.