Mercy sisters mark 1,015 years of service

Catholic Courier    |    05.01.2009
Category: Vocations


This year the Sisters of Mercy jubilarians are celebrating a combined total of 1,015 years of service. These sisters are part of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community, which includes Rochester, Buffalo, the Philippines, Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa.
 
Many of the jubilarians have taught in elementary and high schools in the Diocese of Rochester. Others have ministered in various areas of health care, and in pastoral and social-service ministries in the Rochester area and beyond.
 
It is impressive to realize how many hundreds of lives these sisters have touched in serving those who are poor, sick and uneducated. Even in years of “retirement,” the sisters continue to reach out to others through their prayers in the spiritual-apostolate ministry and in countless hours of volunteering.
 
Sisters and associates of the Rochester community will gather on May 30 for the jubilee celebration at Mercy Center on Blossom Road in Brighton. At the time of her profession of perpetual vows, each sister chooses an inspirational motto that is engraved in the silver ring that she receives at that time.
 
75 Years
 
Sister Mary Corinne Cimineri entered the community from St. John the Evangelist, Clyde. She has ministered in food services, first at the motherhouse, then at Brighton’s Our Lady of Mercy High School, and since 1957 at Notre Dame High School and convent in Elmira. She currently resides in the Notre Dame community, Elmira. “My aim has always been to follow Christ joyfully in my consecrated life of prayer and service. I feel blessed to be a part of the Mercy Community and I am grateful to God for calling me to serve him for these 75 years,” she said. Motto: All for thee, sweet Jesus.
 
Sister Mary Jane Frances Hauser entered the community from Ss. Peter and Paul, Rochester. She taught math and science at Aquinas Institute, Ro-chester; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira. She also served in administrative positions at the motherhouse for 17 years. She retired in 2007 and lives at Mercy Center, ministering in the apostolate of prayer. “As a Sister of Mercy I enjoyed teaching science to both boys and girls,” she said. “Those were wonderful years. I also spent time working around High Acres, a vacation home previously owned by the Sisters of Mercy. I have so many happy memories of the friendly staff and people coming to visit there.” Motto: My heart shall be Thine.
 
70 Years
 
Sister Jane Hasbrouck (formerly Sister Mary Cyprian) entered the community from St. John the Evangelist, Humboldt Street, Rochester. She taught elementary school at St. Charles Borromeo, Greece, and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit. She also was a teacher and administrator at Holy Family High School, Auburn; Notre Dame High School, Elmira; and Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton. In 1971 Sister Hasbrouck assumed office duties at Our Lady of Mercy and in the order’s administrative offices. In 1985 she became archivist for the Rochester community. Although she formally retired in 1996, she continues to volunteer as a literacy tutor and lead small-group discussions for retired sisters about current events. She currently resides in St. Rita community, Webster. “I have had many happy years as a Sister of Mercy in a variety of ministries,” she said. “My vocation has led me to a full and satisfying life through God’s abundant blessings.” Motto: Thou in me and I in Thee.
 
Sister Mary Jude Rockenbrock entered the community from Holy Cross, Charlotte. She taught at St. Andrew, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Rochester; St. Ann, Hornell; St. Cecilia, Elmira; and St. Mary and St. Vincent, Corning. She ministered as a pastoral associate at Hornell’s St. Ann Parish until she retired in 2004. At Mercy Center, she continues her ministry of prayer and visitation of those who are ill. She said she has enjoyed 70 years as a Sister of Mercy and hopes to live out her motto, to “serve the Lord with joy,” until the end of her life. She currently lives at Mercy Center. Motto: Serve the Lord with joy.
 
Sister Mary André Streb entered the community from St. Andrew, Rochester. After completing her studies in nursing, she ministered to the sick at the motherhouse infirmary, Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton and St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, where she spent many years. She served in Steuben County as a public-health nurse and ombudsman, and continued to volunteer her nursing skills in the Canisteo community and at the motherhouse until she retired in 2007. She now takes an active part in the prayer ministry at Mercy Center. “I am happy about my life as a Sister of Mercy and a nurse and serving the needs of the sick throughout all these years,” she said. Motto: Christ is my life.
 
Sister Mary Concepta Walsh entered the community from St. Charles Borromeo, Greece. She taught for 23 years at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester; St. Salome, Irondequoit; and St. Vincent, Corning. In the mid-1960s, she began her outreach programs for children at Rochester’s Joseph Avenue Center. She returned to St. Salome and later developed a prayer program for children there. In 1983 she became pastoral minister of St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Indianola, Miss., where she remained until retiring in 2002. Today she resides at Mercy Center and continues her prayer ministry there. “I live in gratefulness for these many years as a Sister of Mercy, striving to live as a faithful daughter of Mother Catherine McAuley and trusting in God’s divine providence and care,” she said. “What a wonderful life.” Motto: To love Jesus and make him loved.
 
60 Years
 
Sister Mary Esther Carstater entered the community from Sacred Heart, James-town. She taught at St. Andrew, Rochester, and St. Charles Borromeo, Greece. Most of her religious life has been spent as a librarian and teacher at Catherine McAuley College; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira. Since her retirement in 2004, she has presented travelogues of the numerous places she has visited and coordinated a library of reading materials at Mercy Center, where she lives. “Jubilee is a time of gratitude to God for all the experiences of my life — family, travel, education, 44 years at librarian of Mercy High School and the relationships I’ve made,” she said.

Motto: Nostris pax in sua voluntate. (In his will is our peace.)
 
Sister Ann Cullen (formerly Sister Mary Lambert) entered the community from Holy Family, Auburn. She taught for 33 years at Northeastern Ca-tholic Junior High, Irondequoit; Corpus Christi, Holy Cross, Charlotte; St. Monica and Our Lady of Mercy (Denise Road), Rochester; St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. Louis, Pittsford; St. Rita, Webster; Holy Family, Auburn; St. Cecilia, Elmira; St. Mary, Corning; St. Michael, Newark; and St. Patrick, Owego. She also was a teacher and administrator at Annunciation School, Rochester. She served in the Rochester City School District as a home-hospital teacher and in social services at Holy Angels Home. She retired in 2000 and since then has been involved in a number of volunteer activities, helping in the Mercy Bridges office and serving as a receptionist at Mercy Center, where she lives. “Being a Sister of Mercy for 60 years has been gift to me. I have been privileged to walk with many special people. Their support, love, and that of loving family and friends has brought me to this milestone on my journey,” she said.

Motto: Alone with Jesus.
 
Sister Margaret Mary Mattle (formerly Sister Mary Magella) entered the community from St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Rochester. She taught music at St. James and St. Salome, Irondequoit, and St. Louis, Pittsford. She was coordinator of prayer and liturgy for the sisters in the Rochester area and was director of candidates for the congregation beginning in 1967. She was a founding member of Rochester’s Mercy Prayer Center, where she did spiritual direction and retreats. She served in Santiago, Chile, for three years as a pastoral associate and spiritual director, then ministered to the rural poor of Steuben County. She retired in 2005 and lives at Mercy Center, and still continues some work as spiritual director and retreat guide at the prayer center. “Since I entered the Mercy community I have been led by God through many challenges and changes,” she said. “So today I can say ‘Magnificat’ because God has shown me great mercy, and now in the 21st century I can be a woman of Mercy as Catherine McAuley was in her day.”

Motto: Fiat mihi secundum in verbum tuum. (Be it done unto me according to your word.)
 
Sister Mary Melchoria Miceli entered the community from St. Patrick, Rochester. She taught at Annunciation, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Anthony, and St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Rochester; Good Shepherd, Henrietta; Holy Cross, Charlotte; St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. James and St. Salome, Irondequoit; St. John the Evangelist, Clyde; St. Patrick, Owego; St. Rita, Webster; and St. Vincent, Corning. She ministered with children at Corpus Christi Child Care, KinderKare Day Care and The Growing Place Day Care in the Rochester area. She was a special-education teacher for the Rochester City School District at School No. 1 and School No. 17, and for eight years ministered in Arizona at St. Joseph Hospital and St. Jerome School. She retired in 1998 and lives and volunteers at Mercy Center. “Like the Magi who followed the star, God has graced me along my long journey as a Sister of Mercy,” she said.

Motto: Cor Unum. (One heart.)
 
Sister Julia Norton (formerly Sister Mary Concillia) entered the community from St. Patrick, Elmira. She taught at St. Ann, Hornell; St. Mary and St. Vincent, Corning; and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit, before moving into pastoral ministry at the parishes of St. Patrick and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester. She also served as director of novices for the congregation, administrator of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School and religious-education coordinator at St. Andrew, Rochester, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. She currently ministers as pastoral associate at Our Lady of the Americas, Rochester, and resides in the Our Lady of the Americas community. “Gratitude fills my heart as I look back over my years as a Sister of Mercy,” she said. “It has provided me with a rich prayer life, a loving community and wonderful ministries.”

Motto: Domine non sum dignus. (Lord, I am not worthy.)
 
Sister Jeanne Reichart (formerly Sister Mary Dominic) entered the community from St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit. She has been an administrator and a teacher in the dioceses of Rochester; Aguna, Guam; and Hertfordbury, England. Locally she taught at All Saints Academy, Gates; and St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Rochester; Holy Cross, Charlotte; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; St. James, Irondequoit; St. Louis, Pittsford; St. Rita, Webster; and Holy Family, Auburn. She was an administrator at Corning Catholic School North, Corning, and Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Patrick, Elmira. In 1974 she was an exchange teacher in Hertfordbury, England, at St. Joseph School. She spent three years in the Catholic Education Office in Agana, Guam, as curriculum coordinator and assistant superintendent of schools, as well as a year teaching there at St. Anthony School. She is currently archivist for the Rochester community and lives in the St. Cecilia community, Irondequoit. “Borrowing a quote I read recently describes well my vocation as a Sister of Mercy: ‘It’s the best dream I ever had!’ I express my gratitude to my beloved family and to the teachers I had in school whose guidance led me to the acceptance of this incredible gift of God,” she said.

Motto: Sine Me nihil potestis facere. (Without Me you can do nothing.)
 
50 Years
 
Sister Margaret M. Deegan (formerly Sister Clare Marie) entered the community from St. Ann, Hornell. She taught at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brigh-ton; St. Helen, Gates; St. Louis, Pittsford; and St. Rita, Webster; and St. Bernard’s Seminary, Rochester. She was in pastoral work at St. Jerome Parish, East Rochester, and St. Brendan/St. Jude Center, Buffalo. While at St. Jerome she also was director of the congregation’s pre-postulant program. She spent several years at Hornell’s St. James Mercy Hospital caring for family members, volunteering her services and providing clerical assistance. In 1995 she began managing the community’s administrative offices and also ministered for two years as registrar for St. Bernard’s Institute, Rochester. Since 2002 she has served as liturgy coordinator for the local sisters in and resides at Rochester’s Mercy Prayer Center. “When I chose ‘Christ is my life’ for my motto, I wanted to express my desire to live devoted to God,” she said. “Reflecting back on my life as a Sister of Mercy, I see that it really expresses (that) God takes care of me.”

Motto: Christ is my life.

Sister Anne Marie Mathis entered the community from Holy Family, Roches-ter. She taught at St. Cecilia, Irondequoit; St. Charles Borrom-eo, Greece; Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton; and St. Cecilia, Elmira. She worked in the rural areas of Tioga County for one year, and has spent the rest of her ministry as a missionary in Chile, where she currently lives. She expresses her gratitude “to my family and to God for these 50 years of service to his people as a Sister of Mercy,” and acknowledges that “it has been 50 years of both giving to and receiving much from his people, both in the States and in Chile.”

Motto: In His will is our peace.
 

Sister Kay Schwenzer entered the community from Holy Trinity, Webster. She taught at Notre Dame High School, Elmira, then ministered for nine years in Santiago, Chile, where she was novice director for five years. She served Rochester’s Hispanic community as pastoral associate at St. Michael and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishes, and in 2006 became pastoral administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton. She is now pastoral minister to the Hispanic communities of Yates, Ontario and Wayne counties and lives in St. Michael community, Lyons.

“How grateful I am for my religious vocation and how much I love being a Sister of Mercy!” she said.

Motto: Christ is alive in me today.

Sister Lucy Walawender entered the community from St. Isaac Jogues, Fleming. She taught at St. James, Irondequoit, and ministered in the offices of Notre Dame High School, Elmira; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and the congregation’s administration offices. She initiated St. Mary House of Prayer in Corning, where she ministered in the apostolate of prayer for eight years. Beginning in 1981 she did parish pastoral work at Holy Name of Jesus, Greece; St. Salome, Irondequoit; St. Francis, Phelps; and St. Felix, Clifton Springs. She coordinated social-outreach ministries at St. Patrick and St. Anthony/St. Patrick, Elmira. She retired in 2001 but continues to minister to the sick and infirm through prayer and with Lifespan in Rochester. She resides at Mercy Center. “I am grateful to God for the graces of the 50 years,” she said.

Motto: In Christ Jesus.
 
25 Years
 
Sister Barb Stinard entered the community from Immaculate Conception, Ithaca. She was pastoral associate at Henrietta’s Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport, and was pastoral administrator at St. Christopher, North Chili. She also ministered at Holy Cross, Dryden, and ministered for two years at Mercy International Centre in Dublin, Ireland. After returning to the U.S. she was the congregation’s coordinator of donor relations and development and is currently co-coordinator of Mercy Association at Mercy Center. She resides in St. Rita community, Webster. “God has gifted me with a life of community and service as a Sister of Mercy,” she said. “Parish ministry, service at Catherine McAuley’s House in Dublin and companioning Mercy Association (are) among the joys of these 25 years.”

Motto: Christ Jesus, of you my heart speaks.

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