Sisters of Mercy celebrate 665 years of service - Catholic Courier

Sisters of Mercy celebrate 665 years of service

This year the Sisters of Mercy of Rochester who are marking jubilees are celebrating a total of 665 years of service. Sisters and associates of the Rochester community will gather on May 8 for the jubilee celebration at Mercy Center on Blossom Road in Brighton.

 

70 Years

Sister Mary Bernard Butts entered the community from St. Andrew Parish, Rochester. She found great joy in educating young children in elementary schools throughout the diocese at Annunciation (principal), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Andrew, Rochester; St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. James and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; Holy Cross, Charlotte; St. Patrick, Elmira; and St. Mary, Corning, where she also served as principal. She was a parish visitor at St. Anthony Parish in Rochester, ministered as an office staff member at Brighton’s Our Lady of Mercy High School and served as motherhouse administrator from 1998-2001. Sister Butts retired in 2007.

Motto: To love God without measure.

 
60 Years

Sister Kathleen Bayer (formerly Sister Mary Benigna) resided in Irondequoit’s St. James Parish, when she joined the community in 1950. She taught in elementary schools for more than 20 years before engaging in pastoral-care and parish ministry. She taught at Annunciation and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester; St. Joseph, Penfield; St. Rita, Webster; St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; and St. Ann, Hornell, and also ministered at St. Mary House of Prayer in Corning. After completing her studies in pastoral care at St. Raphael Hospital in Connecticut, Sister Bayer was a pastoral-care minister at St. Louis University Hospital in Missouri and Rochester General Hospital. Her parish ministry followed in Elmira at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish and Eastside Catholic Parish. She is currently retired and volunteers at Elmira Community Kitchen and as a eucharistic minister to the sick, and also is actively involved in social-justice issues in Elmira.

Motto: To refuse God nothing.

 

Sister Phyllis Bernardo (formerly Sister Mary Malachy) entered from St. Mary Parish in Rochester. She taught elementary classes at Holy Cross, Charlotte; St. Cecilia, St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; and Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School, Brighton. In 1959 she served as college secretary at Catherine McAuley College in Rochester for three years. She began pastoral work in Rochester at the Joseph Avenue Center Ministry and served there for a decade. After her internship with the diocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministry, she went to Alabama to assist with the Edmundite Southern Ministry. She ministered in Mississippi for 20 years, serving the pastoral needs of those who were imprisoned and poor. She retired in 2002.

Motto: Christus regnat. (Christ reigns.)

 

 

 

Sister Jacqueline DeMars (formerly Sister Mary Campion) entered from St. Alphonsus Parish in Auburn. She taught at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester, where she was principal; St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; Cardinal Mooney High School, Greece; and Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton. During her years at Our Lady of Mercy she also served terms as director of academics and as chief financial officer, and she also was treasurer of the Sisters of Mercy of Rochester from 1970-74. She currently is archivist for the New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community of the Sisters of Mercy in Buffalo.

Motto: Omnia possum in eo qui me conforta. (All is possible through him who strengthens me.)\

 

 

Sister Gertrude Erb (formerly Sister Mary Gerard) was a parishioner of Holy Family in Rochester when she entered the community. Her ministry has bridged educational, parish and pastoral experiences. She taught at Holy Cross, Charlotte; St. Salome, Irondequoit; Holy Family, Auburn; Cardinal Mooney High School, Greece; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira. Sister Erb’s pastoral experience included ministry in the parishes of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Peace of Christ, the Roman Catholic Community of the 19th Ward and St. Ambrose, Rochester; St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge, Webster; and St. Agnes, Avon. She currently is pastoral-care coordinator at St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge.

Motto: Servite Domino cum laetitia. (Serve the Lord with joy.)

 

 

Sister Mary Gratia L’Esperance entered the community from St. Louis Parish in Pittsford. Her various ministerial experiences afforded her the opportunity to teach, to study and to work in advocacy for older adults and caregivers. She taught elementary school at Holy Cross, Charlotte; Holy Family, Auburn; Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Patrick, Elmira; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and Catherine McAuley College, Rochester. After completing studies at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, she held positions as a staff member for adult education for the Diocese of Rochester; assistant to the director of field education, St. Bernard’s Seminary; justice coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy of Rochester; and theological consultant for the Diocese of Rochester. In 1983 she began working with older adults and caregivers at Mercy Center with the Aging. For the past four years she has volunteered in many areas: literacy, interfaith endeavors, and resource person and justice issues.

Motto: In manus tuas, Domine. (Into your hands, Lord.)

 

Sister Mary Sullivan (formerly Sister Mary Petrus) entered from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rochester. She taught at St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. Louis, Pittsford; and Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton. At the college level she taught at Catherine McAuley College where she served as president from 1965-68; Marymount College, Tarrytown; and Rochester Institute of Technology. After almost 40 years of full-time teaching and administration in higher education, she is now professor emerita of literature and dean emerita of the College of Liberal Arts at RIT, where she still occasionally teaches. She is the author or editor of several books and articles on Catherine McAuley and the history of the Sisters of Mercy and is a frequent lecturer and retreat director on these topics.

Motto: Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est. (Where charity and love are, there God is.)

 

 

Sister Janet Wahl (formerly Sister Mary Basil) attended Immaculate Conception Parish at the time of her entrance into the community. She has ministered in the fields of education, mission work, health care and congregational administration. She taught at St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; St. Michael, Newark; Cardinal Mooney High School, Greece; Our Lady of Mercy High School, Brighton; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira. From 1973-77 she served on the administration team for the Sisters of Mercy of Rochester. Beginning in 1978, she spent five years as a missionary in Santiago, Chile. After further study she ministered as a physician’s assistant at Park Ridge Hospital, Rochester; Greenwood Health Center, Greenwood, N.Y.; Troupsburg Health Center, Troupsburg, N.Y.; and Cameron Valley Health Center, Cameron, N.Y. She most recently has ministered in Brockport in the New York State Migrant Outreach Education Project. Currently, she volunteers with the poor, sick and uneducated in the Rochester area.

Motto: Pray, love, sacrifice.

 
50 Years

Sister Jeanne-Marie Collins (formerly Sister Mary Carolyn) entered from St. Louis Parish, Pittsford. She taught at Annunciation and St. Andrew, Rochester; St. Cecilia and St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit; St. Charles Borromeo, Greece; St. Rita, Webster; and St. Matthew in the Diocese of Syracuse. In 1993 she became a pastoral minister and coordinated liturgy and music at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Brighton. More recently Sister Collins has assisted with the elderly and the homebound at various sites locally including Sisters Care, Home-Hospital in the Rochester City School District and Home Instead Senior Care.

She currently ministers as a caregiver at Home Instead Senior Care.

Motto: With joy will I serve.

 

 

Sister Gloria Ruocco (formerly Sister Mary Peter Claver) entered the community from St. Mary Parish in Corning. She taught at St. James, Irondequoit; St. Rita, Webster; and Cardinal Mooney High School, Greece.

She has ministered in the Diocese of Rochester’s Southern Tier Office of Social Ministry in Elmira, and for the last 19 years she has served the needy and the poor at the House of Mercy in the City of Rochester.

Motto: Love without limit.

 

Sister Audrey Synnott entered the congregation in Buffalo from St. John Parish in Stamford, Conn. She ministered as teacher in the Diocese of Buffalo at St. Martin, St. Monica, Madonna High School, Mount Mercy Academy and Trocaire College. Sister Synnott did poetry editing for Sisters Today magazine in St. Joseph, Minn. In 1980 she transferred from the Sisters of Mercy of Buffalo to the Sisters of Mercy of Rochester. There she continued to write and edit poetry for Sisters Today, assist in the NW Speech and Hearing Clinic in Rochester, and minister as spiritual director and as director of the associate program for the Sisters of Mercy in the Rochester area. Sister Synnott retired in 2000, joining others in a ministry of prayer at Mercy Center in Brighton.

Motto: Love, serve, bring peace.

 
25 Years

Sister Connie Derby entered from St. Mary Parish, Geneseo. She has ministered as a school media specialist in the Elmira and Owego school districts and as a bookkeeper for the Rochester Diocese’s Office of the Propagation of the Faith. Sister Derby is currently AV resource librarian and director of archives and records for the Diocese of Rochester.

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