• Maria Corris thumbs through photos from her recent 100-birthday parties. </p>

    Maria Corris thumbs through photos from her recent 100-birthday parties. (Courier photo by Jennifer Burke)

Centenarian shares stories from a life well-lived

Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier    |    08.14.2019
Category: Our Two Cents


How many people do you know who’ve celebrated not one but three 100th separate birthday parties?

Thanks to my job at the CatholicCourier, I now can say I know one such person. Last Friday morning I interviewed Maria Corris at her home in Seneca Falls, and the hour I spent with her was absolutely delightful.

Maria turned 100 last month, but you would never know that by looking at or talking with her. Unless she pulled out the pictures from her 100th birthday parties, that is. Maria thumbed through her pictures, pointing out friends, relatives and Father Jim Fennessy, pastor at St. Francis and St. Clare Parish.

Maria attends Mass every week, is an active member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and drives herself wherever she needs to go. In fact, driving has long been one of her favorite pastimes, and her face lights up when she talks about her car, a 1996 Lincoln.

“Open the door, look in the garage,” she urged John Haeger, our staff photographer, as we sat in her kitchen last week. “You’ll see my beautiful Lincoln. … I had it all redone. It runs beautifully.”

Maria regaled us with stories of her travels to destinations both abroad and domestic, including the time in 1955 when she and one of her friends drove her brand-new 1955 Ford Fairlane to Mexico. I loved listening to Maria’s stories. As far as I can tell, she didn’t let anyone or anything stop her from pursuing her dreams, and now at 100, she has no regrets and is satisfied, both with all the things she’s done as well as all that she continues to do.

As for me, I’m just grateful that I was able to spend a sunny summer morning with such an inspiring woman.

Burke is a staff writer for the Catholic Courier.

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