Sisters mark 335 total years of service - Catholic Courier

Sisters mark 335 total years of service

This year 12 Sisters of Mercy are celebrating a total of 335 years of service in the Diocese of Rochester and beyond. Sisters and associates will gather on May 17 for a jubilee celebration at Mercy Center in Brighton.

Each sister chooses an inspirational motto that is engraved in the silver ring that she receives at the time of her profession of perpetual vows. The sisters are part of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in the New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community.

80 Years

Sister M. Corinne Cimineri ministered in food service. For more than 20 years, she was a cook for Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton, the sisters living at the motherhouse and for the campers at Camp Stella Maris during the summers. When Notre Dame High School opened in Elmira in 1955, she served there for more than 50 years and also cooked for the sisters. In 2012, she moved to Mercy Center due to failing health, but her work in Elmira was not quite finished. She had one more trip to make in order to prepare a promised brunch for the many people who worked with her and helped her during her many years there. She accomplished this in June 2013.

Today, she is retired at Mercy Center, but once each week she is found in a kitchen baking some “goodie” for the other residents.

Motto: Sweet Jesus, all for Thee

75 Years

Sister Mary Jude Rockenbrock knew the Sisters of Mercy for many years before she began to think of joining the congregation when she was a seventh-grader at Holy Cross School in Rochester. She also attended Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton, where the sisters who taught her continued to influence her life.

For many years she taught in diocesan schools in both Rochester and the Southern Tier. Her years in the classroom ended at St. Ann, Hornell, and moved into parish ministry there for 24 years. As a pastoral assistant and later a pastoral associate, she ministered to the poor and homebound until failing health made that too difficult. She continued to volunteer at St. Ann Parish until 2004 when she moved to Mercy Center in Brighton, where she continues to minister to her sisters.

Motto: Servite Domino in laetitia

Sister Mary Andre Streb was educated by the Sisters of Mercy at St. Andrew, Rochester; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and in nursing school at St. James Mercy in Hornell.

Sister Streb spent most of her active years serving the people of Hornell and the surrounding areas as a staff nurse, supervisor, director of nursing services and teacher. In later years she was instrumental in adding physical therapy to the hospital at a time that its usefulness was just beginning to be recognized. She continued to pursue her education, becoming certified in rehabilitation nursing and eventually public health nursing. In 1980 she became the senior aide at the Office of the Aging in Steuben County and continued being the voice to advocate for those in nursing homes until her retirement in 1992.

Once Sister Streb came to live at Mercy Center in 1994 she continued to put her nursing skills to work by starting a Wellness Clinic for those who had needs that required the expertise of a nurse.

Motto: Christ is my life

Sister Mary Concepta Walsh taught for 27 years at St. Salome, Irondequoit; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Rochester; and St. Vincent, Corning.

She was once described as a person whose heart was always with the poor and neglected. When a storefront on Joseph Avenue in Rochester became available, she opened the door to the little ones of the surrounding neighborhood. Her gift of dealing with children and her success at disciplining with love were widely known throughout the area. In 1970 she founded Joseph Avenue Academy for afterschool enrichment and worked there for eight years serving in social and outreach ministry.

She then served in prayer ministry for several years before going to Mississippi in 1983 to serve in pastoral ministry. Since 2002 she has lived at the Mercy Center in Brighton, ministering through prayer, daily activities and simple presence.

Motto: To love Jesus and make him loved

70 Years

Sister M. Raymond Joseph Griffin entered the congregation from St. Mary in Corning. From 1947-84 she taught primarily music at St. Ann, Hornell; St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; Notre Dame High School, Elmira; St. James, Irondequoit; St. Andrew, Rochester; St. Louis, Pittsford; Elmira Regional Schools; and Chemung County Catholic Schools. Moving into parish ministry in 1984, she served as pastoral assistant and then pastoral associate at St. Vincent Parish, Corning; parish visitor, director of music and pastoral associate at Our Lady of Lourdes, Elmira; and parish visitor at St. Mary Southside, Elmira. She now lives at Mercy Center, Brighton, where she serves through the apostolate of prayer and is occasional music minister.

Motto: Ecce ancilla Domini

Sister Patricia MacDonald (formerly Sister Mary Jonatha) entered the community from Blessed Sacrament, Rochester. An educator for 20 years, she taught at Holy Cross, Rochester; Holy Family High School, Auburn; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; Our Lady of Lourdes, Elmira, where she also was principal; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira.

From 1967-71 she was a chaplain at Cornell University, Ithaca, the first woman to hold that position at Cornell. Moving into pastoral counseling, a ministry that lasted 25 years, she worked at the Pastoral Counseling Center in Worcester, Mass., until 1981, then maintained a private practice in Rochester until 1990. She then served as a counselor and staff support at St. Joseph School, Penfield, and Bethany House, Rochester.

Since 2001 she has been assistant archivist in the Rochester Mercy Sisters Archives.

Motto: Let love make me one with Thee

Sister Kathleen Milliken (formerly Sister Mary Cornelius) entered the community from St. Patrick, Elmira. She taught at St. Mary, Corning (1947-52), followed by high-school ministry as librarian and teacher for 18 years: 10 at Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; five at Notre Dame, Elmira; and three at Cardinal Mooney, Greece. From 1972-82 she was a chaplain at the Newman Oratory, SUNY Brockport. In 1985 she was elected to the executive council of the Rochester Sisters of Mercy, serving as councilor (1985-89) and as assistant to the president (1989-93). From 1994-2010 she assisted in the Rochester Mercy Sisters Archives; was codirector of the Tanzanian Sisters Education Program, which she helped develop; and cowrote A Graced History: The Sisters of Mercy of Rochester, 1900-2000.

Motto: Amor vincit omnia

Sister Gertrude Skelly (formerly Sister M. James Edward) was introduced to the Sisters of Mercy who taught at St. Patrick School in Owego.

After entering the congregation, she received a BS in secretarial science from Nazareth College and taught at St. Charles Borromeo in Greece. She then moved to Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton, where she taught in the business department for many years. In 1956 she taught and was principal at St. Patrick, Owego. Following her years there, she returned to teaching business at both Our Lady of Mercy and Notre Dame High School in Elmira. In 1970 she became an accountant at Rochester’s Episcopal Church Home, where she ministered for more than 20 years. After retiring from there she began volunteering, in the finance office of the Sisters of Mercy in Rochester and also volunteered at Elmira’s Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Notre Dame High School and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

When her health began to fail, Sister Skelly returned to Mercy Center in Brighton, ministering to those around her and praying for others.

Motto: No one but only Jesus

60 Years

Sister M. Bernarde Entress (formerly Sister Mary Bernarde) joined the congregation after graduating from Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton. She taught at St. Louis, Pittsford; St. Ann, Hornell; St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; St. Helen, Gates, St. Rita, Webster; and St. Patrick, Elmira, where she also was vice principal. In 1977 she ministered as religious-education coordinator at St. Patrick, Elmira, and was religious-education director at Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton; St. Philip Neri, Rochester; and St. Mary, Scottsville. Sister Entress also served as parish secretary at Holy Family, Rochester.

She now lives at Mercy Center in Brighton and ministers as assistant in the NyPPaW finance office and organizes group bus tours to places of interest.

Motto: Omni pro te, O cor Jesu

Sister Joan Hilbert (formerly Sister M. Eulalia) has generously shared her gifts and talents as an artist and a photographer. Her admiration of God’s creation is reflected in her many photos of nature.

She taught at St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Holy Redeemer and St. Andrew, Rochester; St. Cecilia, Irondequoit; and Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton, where she introduced classes in photography as an elective in her art curriculum. In 1990 she entered the area of parish ministry at Sacred Heart Cathedral, visiting the sick and homebound and working with the senior members of the parish community, a ministry which she continues today.

Motto: Fiat voluntas tua

Sister Mary Beth Teddy (formerly Sister M. Nicholas) has served in education and health care.

She taught at St. John the Evangelist (Humboldt Street), Rochester; St. Joseph, Penfield); St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; and St. Mary, Bath. She later taught at Cardinal Mooney, Greece, and Our Lady of Mercy, Brighton.

In 1971 she began her education in nursing at St. James Hospital in Hornell. Sister Teddy was a nurse and taught at various sites in western New York, including St. James Mercy Hospital, Highland Hospital, SUNY Brockport, We Care Health Service, Tender Loving Care Agency, Sisters of Mercy Infirmary and the American Red Cross.

Now retired, she continues an apostolate of prayer at Mercy Center in Brighton.

Motto: In His will is our peace

50 Years

Sister Theresa Rutty entered the congregation from St. Cecilia, Elmira.

She taught at St. Michael, Newark; Irondequoit’s St. Thomas the Apostle and St. James, where she also was principal; St. Andrew and Holy Rosary, Rochester; and St. Patrick, Owego. She then ministered for 14 years at the Sisters of Mercy mission in Chile. The year before she prepared to go to Chile, she taught Spanish at the elementary level and coordinated the Wegman’s Early Education Program.

During her years serving the Chilean people, she also spent four years as director of vocations and incorporation for the Chilean sisters.

After returning to Rochester, she assisted students learning English as a second language and is now a pastoral minister at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Rochester.

Motto: Amen, Alleluia


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