Sister Frances McCool was a Sister of Saint Joseph for fifty-nine years. She attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School and St. Francis Xavier Academy and entered our congregation after high school. Fran attained a Bachelor of Science in Education from Brentwood College and a Master’s Degree from Brooklyn College, later obtaining certification in Administration and Supervision from Fordham University. Fran was a qualified professional but most of all a compassionate human being, especially toward the young children she taught and in all the schools she administered as Principal: Queen of All Saints, St. Agnes, Holy Name and St. Rita’s.
In all of her years in ministry Fran was strengthened by her ever-deepening relationship with a loving God. Her family referred to her as “a rock” knowing her steady and unwavering strength in all of life’s challenges. In the depths of her being, Fran knew God’s all-inclusive and reconciling love and she shared it with whomever came into her life. In community, she was an enduring presence to the sisters who shared life with her.
Today we celebrate the gift of Fran’s life. As a true Sister of Saint Joseph, if Fran saw a need she did whatever had to be done to meet it. But what was most important was the person before her. Early on, that was the children, families and colleagues in the schools where she ministered. But a multitude of others in neighborhood and parish and yes, eventually in hospital and rehab centers came to know that they were recognized, respected and encouraged. In a world where self- interests, competition and exclusion are so prevalent, Fran was a beacon of care, compassion and unity. In the terrible struggles of her illness, it was never about herself but about all who cared for her and tended to her needs. Pope Francis has reminded us in this Year of Consecrated Life to remember our encounter with God that moved us to answer the call to religious life. He asks us to recall the passion and joy of that response. Fran’s life reflected that passion and joy because she was sure of God’s presence and enduring love. Each one of us who had a relationship with Fran, needs to remember that what we knew of her was a revelation of God’s love for each one of us. And as Fran has done, we are to do for others. In that way Fran’s life endures as she is now at peace in the fullness of life with her loving God.
Sister Francis Teresa McCool. CSJ died on November 7, 2015 in the 59th year of her religious life.