Sister Agnes Cecilia Troy, SSJ, died at the age of 90 on Oct. 2, 2003,
at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford. Sister Troy,
commonly called Mother Agnes Cecilia, had served as mother general of
the local congregation from 1963 to 1975.
A native of Rochester, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in
1931. She taught second-graders at St. Mary School in Elmira from 1933
until 1934, when she became a first-grade teacher at Nazareth Hall. In
1946, she left Nazareth Hall to open Mother of Sorrows School in
Rochester with two other sisters, including longtime friend Sister
Joseph Gilmary Russell.
In 1952 Sister Troy left Mother of Sorrows to become principal of
Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament School, where she served until 1953,
when she became principal of Nazareth Academy. She led the academy for
the next 10 years, until becoming mother general for her order in 1963.
She continued in leadership, becoming local coordinator for the
motherhouse in 1975 and department head for congregational services at
the motherhouse in 1984.
Msgr. William Shannon presided at the Oct. 6 funeral Mass for Sister
Troy. Concelebrating were Fathers Bruce Ammering and Thomas Statt, a
former first-grade student of Sister Troy.
In his homily, Msgr. Shannon noted that Sister Troy was not only a
woman “born to command,” but she also was a caring person.
“She treated sisters as individuals whose rights and dignity she
respected. To her they were never ‘subjects.’ They were co-workers with
her in the spread of God’s kingdom,” Msgr. Shannon said in his
The congregation estimated that Sister Troy’s funeral was attended
by about 400 people, which it termed a testimony to the lives she
touched during her lifetime. Sister Russell said the chapel and great
room of the motherhouse were both filled with a mix of religious and
lay people, and ill sisters watched the funeral on closed-circuit
television from two other rooms in the motherhouse.
Louis Langie, retired vice president of Chase Lincoln First Bank,
had kept in contact with Sister Troy since she was his first-grade
teacher almost 70 years ago.
“She had the respect and love from all with whom she came in
contact. They didn’t refer to her as Sister Agnes Cecilia, we all kind
of thought of her as Mother Agnes Cecilia,” said Langie, a parishioner
at St. Thomas More Parish in Brighton.
Langie and Sister Russell agreed that Sister Troy possessed unique
gifts and deep spirituality.
“Her special gift was radiating love. She really made people feel
good about themselves. She was compassionate and she was generous to a
fault, but her kindness was her greatest quality,” Sister Russell
“She had that spirit of gratitude that is so hard to find. Her
spirit of prayer affected us all. She was a woman of prayer, and we
were all benefactors of that,” she added.
Sister Troy is survived by numerous cousins as well as her sisters
in the St. Joseph congregation.
Internment was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester. Memorial
donations may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph Ministry Fund, 150
French Road, Rochester, NY 14618.