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Sister Virginia Broderick

Sister Virginia Broderick

“For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his suffering ones.” (Isaiah 49:13)

“Just a few minutes after Sister Virginia Broderick breathed her last, we read these words at Mass. They bring many aspects of her life to mind,” said Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Virginia, who died April 6.

Anna Cecelia Broderick entered this world June 3, 1907, in Chicago, to Patrick and Bridget Nelligan Broderick. One of five children, she was educated at St. Mel and Providence High School, both in Chicago. She entered the Congregation Sept. 8, 1926, receiving the name Sister Virginia Therese, and she professed first and perpetual vows Feb. 26, 1929, and Aug. 15, 1934, respectively. Sister Virginia earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University.

Sister Virginia’s long ministry to elementary-school students began in 1929 at St. Augustine in Fort Wayne, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included Sharon Terrace, Fort Wayne; St. Joan of Arc, Indianapolis; St. Joseph, Jasper; and St. Patrick, Terre Haute. Sister Virginia spent more than 45 years in education in Chicago, teaching at St. Agnes, Maternity BVM, St. Sylvester, St. Mel and Our Lady of Sorrows, where she also served two years as assistant principal. She ministered as principal at Our Lady of Mercy. From 1969 to 1983, she ministered at the Learning Center at St. Francis Borgia, Chicago, and then tutored for two years at the school.

“The fact that there were so many young sisters sent to work with Sister Virginia attests that she was highly regarded as an educator who would work patiently with the new teachers, even though a lot of her life she suffered from the results of a serious burn which she suffered while preparing breakfast for her local community,” said Sister Mary Ann.

“After many years of teaching, Sister Virginia enjoyed working with senior citizens in the parish at St. Francis Borgia. Being with this group gave her much joy,” shared Sister Mary Ann.

Sister Virginia faithfully served this group from 1985 to 1991, when a broken leg forced her return to the Woods. “From that time forward, she was in one of our health-care facilities. During these many years, it seems to me that the words of the reading must have been in her thoughts, even though she had a peaceful demeanor during many years of suffering. Her faith would lead her to say, ‘ … yet surely my cause is with the Lord and my reward with my God,’” continued Sister Mary Ann.

“Sister Virginia was a prolific letter writer and kept in touch with those she loved even after she had to come to the Infirmary. For some years now, she has not been able to communicate with speech. What a trial this must have been for one who was always known as a people person. She had a warm and welcoming way about her whenever visitors came, always showing she was happy to have visitors,” said Sister Mary Ann.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Virginia was celebrated April 13, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was preceded in death by all her siblings.

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