“I have lived my life as a Sister of St. Joseph since 1948 and have always been supremely grateful to God for the Gift of my vocation. My service has always been given freely and fully, as a means of thanking God for that gift.”
Thee are the words of Sister Mary Benedict Holt, a Sister of St. Joseph for seventy one years. Benedict, named Joan Helen’ was born to James and Helen and grew up in St. Rose of Lima parish in Brooklyn. She entered the congregation as did her older sister, Sister Edward Thomas, and became a teacher, ministering in parish schools mostly in Brooklyn and Queens. Benedict studied French and attained a Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a Master’s from Queens College. Certified in administration, she, became Principal of St. Mary Mother of Jesus in Brooklyn.
In her ministry of education, Benedict was attentive to the needs of children and parents. She taught CCD classes and initiated parenting programs in a number of parishes where she served. While in Our Lady of Victory in Floral Park, she initiated a French program for Junior High students, an innovation for that time.
Benedict was a private woman and quite certain in what she thought. But that certainty was rooted in her faith in God who called her by name and she knew she was precious in God’s eyes and God was with her through any struggles she experienced. Benedict knew her family cared and she appreciated the calls, many cards and visits.
In her later years Benedict lived our congregation’s tradition to do whatever needed to be done. She served in our Motherhouse helping with the finance office and supervising housekeeping in the convent. Organized, responsible and thorough, you knew what she thought and respected her wishes. So when Benedict requested that we not share stories at her wake, it was respected but did not exclude someone sharing her thoughts about herself stating:” I received more gifts from Benedict that I gave her.”
Today we celebrate Benedict’s deep faith expressed in her own words:”It is my belief that God will be the One to end my life here on earth, only to continue it with Himself in fuller measure. “
“Death is not the extinguishing the light — it is putting out the lamp because the Dawn has come.” Benedict you are now beaming in that fullness of life and we thank you for sharing your life with us and your commitment to our congregation.
Sister Mary Benedict Holt, CSJ died on February 27, 2020 in the 72nd year of her religious life.