We celebrate the life of Sister Mary Josephine Keyes (S. Raymond de Sales) a Sister of St. Joseph for 67 years. Today, Sept. 4, is the actual anniversary of Mary Jo’s entrance into the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Mary Jo was a girl from Queens. She was born to her Irish parents, Bridget and Richard, joining her older sister Antoinette in the family. Mary Jo attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Astoria and St. Michael’s High School. She entered our community in 1952. She attended St. Joseph’s College, majoring in English and then graduated from Fordham University with a Master’s degree in Education/Reading.
Mary Jo began her ministry as a primary grade teacher in Visitation School followed by time in the St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, Nativity and St. John of God Schools. She brought her talents to teaching math at Sacred Heart and as a librarian at Immaculate Conception School in Brooklyn. Mary Jo also ministered in the Radiology Department at St. John’s Hospital.
Mary Jo volunteered at various summer programs and at our vacation homes. She also worked at Maria Regina.
I asked Mary Jo’s family and friends to describe what they would like to say about Mary Jo. Each one talked of her generosity of time and spirit, her kindness, her ability to laugh, her flair for the artistic. They described her as lots of fun- always ready to laugh. What a nice description!
The liturgy today was planned by Antoinette and Celie who chose beautiful music and readings. The first reading from Isaiah speaks of a loving God who has summoned us by name and claims us as God’s own – precious and honored in God’s sight. This is a reading that speaks of God’s fidelity to each of us through all of the situations of life. It speaks of Mary Jo’s relationship with her God to whom she could always turn.
The Gospel from Matthew reminds us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mary Jo has answered that call of our God to come and rest. She rests now in the arms of a loving God who was her constant companion in life.As a sign of her fidelity to her God and our congregation, I now place a copy of our constitution in her hands.
Sister Mary Josephine Keyes, CSJ died on August 28, 2019 in the 67th year of her religious life.