Eileen Catherine Gildea entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph on September 8, 1954. At Reception, she received the name Sister Mary Elias.
Eileen’s ministry was in education both as an elementary school teacher and then a principal at Holy Cross Scchool, and later as an assistant principal at The Mary Louis Academy. She was prepared for these ministries by earning a BA in English at St. Joseph College, an MA in English at Brooklyn College and Certification in Administration and Supervision at St. John’s University and at Fordham University.
We celebrate the life of Eileen Gildea, a faithful and steadfast sister, a Sister of Saint Joseph for sixty years. Eileen’s life is witness to the life of a vowed religious who has been generous in her response to a loving God. As a congregation we believe in the power and presence of God working through an evolving universe. As women of the Church we commit ourselves to Jesus’s mission to heal, redeem and liberate all people and reverence all creation.
Faithful to our commitment we strive to live our lives simply, prayerfully and compassionately. We do this together in community bringing our individual gifts and talents to be generously shared wherever there is need. Eileen lived that commitment every day of her life. Dedicated to the congregation, she offered her gifts to be involved in all of our gatherings, meetings and worked hard at our chapters and planning efforts. She was always present to celebrate with us and was the face of our congregation in her ministry of education in parish, in our high schools, on boards of trustees and welcoming others to enjoy time in Hampton Bays.
All of us here today have been touched by her individual attention, listening ear and compassionate response. We celebrate Eileen’s life as we celebrate her birthday today. It has been said that “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal” (Albert Pike). As she has made God’s love so real to others, she now shares in the fullness of that love inviting all of us to live as she did simply, courageously and compassionately.
Sister Eileen Gildea, CSJ died on September 18, 2014 in the 60th year of her religious life.