Sister IreneSister Mary Irene Pacekonis, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God for 78 years, died at the age of 94 on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. A native of Hartford, CT, Sister Irene was the third of six children, having attended Holy Trinity School, before enrolling at St. Francis Academy. After entering the congregation in 1939, her initial assignments were in elementary schools in Dubois, PA and Rochester, NY. Then she served as a teacher in São Paulo, Brazil for seven years. Upon her return to the U.S., Sister Irene served in various schools in Pittsburgh, Bethel Park, and Moon Run, PA, as well as Mt. Vernon, IL, and Elizabeth, NJ.  Her education ministry in the U.S. spanned over 50 years with a break between 1962 -1967 when she returned to serve in São Paulo. Upon her retirement from active teaching, Sister Irene worked in our daycare center as well as our craft shop. In her later years, Sister entered into the ministry of prayer and served as a bright and faithful presence among the Presbyterian SeniorCare community.  Sister earned her Bachelor’s degree at Mt. Mercy College and her Master’s degree at Duquesne University.

Sister Mary Irene Wake Reflection

Sister ThereseSister Therese Marquis, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God for 68 years, died at the age of 87 on Friday, December 15, 2017. Sister Therese was born in Daigle, a French Acadian village in Maine, and was the middle of seven children. Later, her family moved to Hartford, CT, where she attended St. Ann’s School. She entered the congregation in 1949. Sister Therese’s early ministry included teaching assignments in New Kensington, Bethel Park, Esplen, Dubois, and Philadelphia, PA, as well as Coopersville, MI, and South Catholic HS in Hartford, CT. She also served at St. Francis Academy as a teacher, then vice principal. Later, Sister Therese was in residence at Emmaus Community in St. Louis, MO, prior to working at the congregation’s hospital in Alton, IL. She returned to various duties at the motherhouse in 1990, then served as a pastoral minister in Danbury, CT. In 2000, Sister returned to Pittsburgh to serve in congregational leadership. She spent her later years serving as librarian and sacristan in the motherhouse before entering into a ministry of prayer in 2010.

Sister Therese received an MS in Education from Duquesne and MA in Religious Studies from St. Joseph College in West Hartford CT.  Skilled in her native French she was also a talented sculptor and artist.


Wake Reflection

Sr Rosalie MemorialSister Rosalie Kaseta, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God for 75 years, died peacefully on September 11, 2017 at Presbyterian Senior Care in Oakmont, PA. Sister Rosalie’s early ministry was as an elementary school teacher in Rochester, NY, Detroit, MI and Homestead, PA. In 1951, she was missioned to São Paulo, Brazil, where she served at several elementary schools. Upon her return to the USA in 1957, Sister served at St. Gabriel’s in Pittsburgh, as well as schools in West Mifflin, Philadelphia, Moon Run and Kenosha, WI. She also served as the St. Francis Academy’s librarian for ten years. In 1983, Sister was assigned as a chaplain at the congregation’s St. Joseph Hospital in Alton, IL.

In 1986, she returned to the motherhouse serving as Liturgist and social justice coordinator. An excellent pianist, she also took an active role in the community’s San Damiano Consort. Sister Rosalie served as assistant campus administrator at St. John Vianney Manor from 2001 – 2008. At age 83, she returned to the motherhouse to assume duties in community services and serve as the congregation’s librarian. A graduate of Duquesne University, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s in Library Science.


Born: August 16, 1919

Entered: August 15, 1938

Returned to the Lord: August 6, 2016

Sister M. Beatrice Siratavic, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God for nearly 78 years, heard the words of her God: “Well done, good and faithful servant” on August 6, 2016, at the age of 96.

Sister Beatrice was born Natalie Siratavic in Philadelphia, the youngest of four children of Kasimir Siratavic and Julia Klug, immigrants from Lithuania. Like so many of our sisters from Philadelphia, Natalie attended St. George School, where our community taught for many years. Not surprisingly, two of our members, Sisters Cecilia and Aurelia, were her classmates. Upon the occasion of her 65th Jubilee, Sister Beatrice talked about the “care, support interest and example of my fifth grade teacher that led me to seek higher things until I made my choice” to enter the community.

In 1938, Sister Beatrice began a 15-year period in teaching that included schools in Elizabeth, NJ, and Detroit, MI, plus our own St. Francis Academy. She also earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Duquesne during this time.

But it was her ministry in Brazil that Sister so cherished. In her words, “the most challenging and fruitful years” of her life. At first, she had a difficult time learning Portuguese and was determined to return to the Pittsburgh. Always open to whatever God had in store for her, however, she stuck it out, and remained for the next forty years.

It was here that she worked principally in schools teaching religion as well as “English as a second language.” She also served as a regional and local superior, a hospital aide in Pedro Leopaldo, as well as in the mission’s finance office. Here, Sister found the “warm, simple, friendly, God-fearing, prayerful people of the village that ignited a deeper appreciation for the things of God.”

Upon her return to the motherhouse, Sister Beatrice assumed the role as the congregation’s assistant archivist, where she worked diligently with the congregational archivist to make sure that information on the community, its members and achievements were never lost, but rather to be shared with other community members and interested lay persons.

Though tiny in stature, Sister Beatrice’s grace, wisdom and sense of humor embraced all around her.    Her favorite quote reads, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, Serve the Lord with gladness.” She certainly tried to spread joy and happiness in all that she did.

Born: October 4, 1915

Entered: August 2, 1933

Returned to the Lord: April 26, 2016

Sister M. Frances Walters, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God for 82 years, died at the age of 100 on April 26, 2016 at Presbyterian Senior Care in Oakmont, PA. Sister Frances was born in Pittsburgh on October 4, 1915 – the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and attended St. Casimir Elementary School in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Her pastor at St. Casimir’s was Rev. Magnus Kazenas, who was instrumental in bringing our founding Sisters to Pittsburgh from Chicago in 1922, and she actually met these Sisters at the train station in Pittsburgh.  Sister Frances attended St. Francis Academy and entered the congregation in 1933, just 11 years after its founding.

Sister’s first assignment was as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher in Detroit, MI, followed by several years in Hartford, CT.  Sister Frances’ education ministry spanned over 50 years at 14 different elementary schools in eight states including Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois and California. In Pittsburgh, she taught at St. Valentine and St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin schools.

In 1986, at the age of 71, Sister began her ministry at the Franciscan Day Care Center, where she served as a teacher, then later as Resource Supervisor.  She describes her 18 years at the Day Care Center as a “truly happy and blessed experience” and that “taking care of the babies and toddlers brought much joy and consolation” as she adjusted to her latest phase of religious life.  Sister dedicated herself fully to the ministry of prayer at the age of 97.

Sister was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Helen Sherry and Sister Marianne Walters, OSF – also a Sister of St. Francis of the Providence of God, and her brother, Fr. Hilarion Walters, who served as a Passionist priest. She is survived by her sister, Ann Dombroski, as well as several nieces and nephews and their families.


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