Sister Rita Marie Habecker, 62 - Catholic Courier

Sister Rita Marie Habecker, 62

Sister Rita Marie Habecker died March 12, 2007, in hospice care at the Mercy Motherhouse in Rochester. She was 62.

Virginia Marie Habecker received her elementary education from the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Rochester. After attending Brighton’s Our Lady of Mercy High School, she entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame and became Sister Rita Marie.

Following two years of teaching in Brooklyn, she returned to Rochester to teach at Holy Redeemer, St. Philip Neri and St. Andrew schools. She also served in Rochester as principal of Holy Family and Holy Ghost schools.

In 1983, Sister Habecker changed her ministry to that of special-service foster care at Andrews Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, located at St. James Parish in Irondequoit. For more than 23 years, she was foster mother to countless infants and children, following their progress even after they left her care. She continued caring for children, preparing formula for infants, until just days before she succumbed to recurring cancer.

She enjoyed casino visits in Canandaigua and Canada, her winnings paying for Catholic high-school tuition for her foster children.

Sister Mary Smith, SSND, principal of St. Boniface School in Rochester, commented that Sister Habecker “was always the epitome of SSND. Her generosity, care for others and positive outlook were amazing.”

Sister Habecker is survived by her sisters, Judy (Robert) Neary, Marcia Habecker and Mary (Peter) Boesch; her brothers, Richard (Emily Mowbray), Lawrence (Karen) and John; nieces and nephews; the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Sisters of Mercy; and the foster children she nurtured.

A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated by Fathers Robert Werth, Robert Bradler and William Amann on March 16, 2007, at St. James Church with burial in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Andrews Center, 123 Whittington Road, Rochester, NY 14609 or School Sisters of Notre Dame, 345 Beldon Hill Road, Wilton, CT 06897.

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