Sister Lucille Ann L’Episcopo, CSJ
Sister Lucille Ann L’Episcopo, CSJ, the former Sister Luciana, died on October 9, 2023 in the 73rd year of her religious life.
Good morning to each of you here in Sacred Heart Chapel and to all who are joining through livestream as we pause to reflect on the life of Sister Lucille Ann L’Episcopo, Sister Luciana, Luci. Realizing that each of us came to know Luci in a different way, at various times in your lives and in her life, and due to varying circumstances, I ask you to take a moment to think of the first time you met Luci or perhaps your longstanding relationship with her.
For me, it was September 1956. I was missioned to Holy Name of Mary in Valley Stream. Luci welcomed me as a Second year Novice and a fourth grade teacher. And so our friendship began, as each evening she patiently helped me to prepare my lessons for the following day.
For Linda and Nanette and John and the rest of the Battaglia and L’Episcopo families I’m sure you heard of the many cousins your parents had, who gathered in Marlboro each summer to enjoy Grandma’s cooking and playing with one another. For you here present today, it was learning that you had a relative who was a nun and getting to know her at family gatherings and then exploring the extensive family tree that Luci diligently constructed. Given that her parents had many siblings, this was no small task.
Luci cherished her family and the families of her friends… they and their interests were always part of her daily prayer and she enjoyed keeping up with the latest births, marriages and accomplishments.
Did you know that Luci’s mother was a NYC public school teacher? Sister Tesa mentioned Sister Luciana’s many years of teaching elementary, high school and college. She truly loved teaching… be it in a formal classroom setting, one on one tutoring in helping an adult to earn her GED, or driving out to Wading River in the dead of winter to tutor a teenager. When Sister Lucille left Administration at The Mary Louis Academy where she kept us all on our toes, she happily returned to teaching Math at Saint Joseph’s High School.
What do you her students remember about her? One wrote to me saying “ she was passionate about her subject and inspired all of her students to recognize the beauty of mathematics. She had high expectations for us and made sure we reached those expectations. In addition to being a great teacher, she was also a wonderful person.” .
What about you her friends, colleagues, Sisters of Saint Joseph? What are your memories of Luci? I hope the parishioners at Saint Patrick’s in Smithtown know how much Sister Lucille enjoyed singing in the choir with them and sharing bagels with the Religious ED staff and how often she has spoken of all of you with great fondness.. For Luci, being an active part of a parish meant putting into practice her call as a Sister of Saint Joseph to be a Sister of the neighborhood, be it in Brooklyn, Valley Stream, Jamaica Estates, Maspeth, Fresh Meadows, Smithtown or Brentwood to truly show her care and concern ………………………………………….for each person that she met and greeted on life’s journey. As a gentleman said to me recently, “I’ve known Sister Lucille for many years and what stays with me is her smile.”
In your remembrance of Luci, is there a must read book that she suggested… be it spiritually enriching, she introduced several of us to Sacred Space from the Irish Jesuits, or was it a first rate detective novel? Luci was an avid reader and a book was her constant companion. Or were you deeply engrossed in putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle during a Hampton Bays vacation or relief stint? Or perhaps it was a Suduko puzzle waiting to be solved.
Is there a heated political or social issue which comes to mind? Did you tackle it over a scrambled egg supper or a neighborhood walk? Luci put her time and resources into a variety of causes…. Doctors Without Borders, Long Island Cares, Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Home for Boys, Finca and her beloved Saint John’s University and The Mary Louis Academy among others. I know this first hand because lately I have been helping her to go through her mail, and we’ve compiled a list that she was planning for contributions.
Perhaps, baseball comes to mind. Just a few weeks ago. I had to interrupt her in the middle of her watching a Mets game replay so that we could enjoy a visit and lament the sorry state of the Mets. A memorable vacation was to Cooperstown where we spent several days at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I recall our three week touring of California along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Tiajuana and back North through the center of the state to spend some time with Luci’s sister Ginny and her husband Bob. Pat, Owen and I seemed to have boundless energy but one morning Luci declared “ This is a vacation, please drop me near the Ocean so that I may have some quiet time to pray and contemplate the beauty all around me.” Taking time to pray and contemplate the beauty all around her was ‘til her last breath, part of Luci’s daily life. She often expressed to me how kind and caring the nurses and aides and housekeeping staff were. I observed that first hand. Thank you!
Did you live with Luci and enjoy her delicious cooking or perhaps you were engaged in a major cleaning project with her where you thought you were cleaning the clean.
Did you call Luci for help when as the House Treasurer you couldn’t locate the missing two cents? I’ve been told that Luci was at her most patient in those moments.
My dear friend Luci was a woman totally dedicated to living her life to the fullest as a Sister of Saint Joseph, committed to deepening her relationship with her God and with each dear neighbor. I know that she loved and prayed for each of you.
Please rejoice with me as she enjoys her Heavenly home.
Filipa Luciano, CSJ