We celebrate the life of our sister, Mary Catherine Sullivan, a Sister of St. Joseph for sixty seven years. Mary Catherine lived in the gentle, befriending manner of St. Joseph, the patron of our congregation.
Born to Helena and John, Mary Catherine grew up in Flushing and attended Mary’s Nativity and then The Mary Louis Academy. The daughter of faith-filled, hard-working Irish immigrant parents, Mary Catherine and her three brothers learned early on to depend on a loving God for patience and strength.
After entering the congregation Mary Catherine taught elementary and junior high grades and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies from St. Joseph’s College and a Masters from Queens College. She studied Administration and served as Principal of Holy Family Parish School for eight years. Returning to the classroom, Mary Catherine ministered as a Social Studies teacher at Fontbonne Hall for twenty-three years. She continued to be an excellent teacher as well as a warm and kind presence to students, faculty and parents.
Family and faith were integral in Mary Catherine’s life. Losing her brother when he was only twenty one strengthened those bonds and Mary Catherine often expressed gratitude to the congregation for enabling her to be with the family during such a difficult time. Loving her Irish heritage she cherished taking a trip to Ireland with her mother, creating cherished memories.
Kind and thoughtful of others, Mary Catherine learned to drive so that she could be a chauffeur and help sisters get to where they needed to be. Her warm, gracious manner always made anyone in her presence feel welcomed. Her life was centered on her loving God and she always had a calm and reassuring presence. From the depth of her being she was able to meet the challenges of declining health with that same calm and enduring patience, never complaining. As we will hear in the reading from Wisdom today, God tried her and found her worthy and with all of the faithful she will abide with her God.
It was Mary Catherine’s wish to be remembered as “loving and kind.” How many times have you heard those words in this remembrance? For us who celebrate her life today we can honor that wish without reserve. To show that we do honor it, let us all leave this sacred space today and be loving and kind as Mary Catherine witnessed with her life.
Sister Mary Catherine Sullivan, CSJ died on November 27, 2020 in the 67th year of her religious life.