Sister Louise (Jerome) Leary
“Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size … .” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Sister Louise took the pleasant and the unpleasant in stride. Later in life, she experienced a variety of physical pains and sufferings. Yet she endured each setback and emerged with added optimism and relief when the ordeals ended,” said Sister Ruth Johnson in her commentary for Sister Louise Leary, who died Jan. 2.
Born Dec. 14, 1919, in Somerville, Mass., to Michael and Agnes (Vogel) Leary, Louise Agnes Leary attended a public grade school and Cheverus Grade School in Malden, Mass. She graduated from Cheverus High School and entered the Congregation July 20, 1939, at Maryhurst in Hyattsville, Md. She professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1942, and 1948, respectively. She was known by the religious name Sister Jerome. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Louise began teaching in 1942 at St. Therese in Wilson, N.C. Her other elementary classrooms included Ascension, Halethorpe, and St. Clement, Lansdowne, Md.; St. Joseph, Terre Haute, and Our Lady of the Greenwood, Greenwood, Ind.; St. Mel-Holy Ghost, Chicago; and Lady Isle, Portsmouth, N.H. In Massachusetts, she ministered at St. Rose, Chelsea; St. Polycarp, Somerville; St. Patrick, Stoneham; and Cheverus, Malden.
After nearly four decades of teaching primary students, Sister Louise “began a ministry not only wholeheartedly but with a heartfelt joy as though this was what had been planned for her from all time,” said Sister Ruth. “She began to work in a system that provided care and service for the elderly and homebound in Malden, Mass. She purchased food supplies and provided a clean, cheery atmosphere for each person to whom she was assigned, not only spending time with them, but sharing family stories and concerns and encouraging them to enjoy their later years and find pleasure in the gift of each day.”
Sister Louise retired from this ministry in 1992. She came to the Woods in 2003.
“Sister Louise was a sincere, cheerful person noted for her chuckle, quick smile and the ability to listen attentively to the experience you shared with her. She was always perky for some snappy news; even a grumble brought energy to her every encounter. You left feeling all the better for having spent some time in her presence,” continued Sister Ruth.
“While taking seriously the daily challenges, she had some noticeable pleasures such as having her hair done, wearing color-related apparel, shopping with her sister or friends and even critiquing soap operas. But the best thing up to the day she died was her subscription to the Boston Pilot [diocesan newspaper]. She was a proper Bostonian to the end,” said Sister Ruth.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Louise was celebrated Jan. 6 with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. Sister Louise is survived by two sisters, Winifred Nugent of Malden, Mass., and Mary Kwiatkowski of Chelsea, Mass.; and one brother, Joseph of Melrose, Mass.
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