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Sister Mary Carina Connors

Sister Mary Carina Connors

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness.” (Isaiah 42:6)

“Those of us who knew Sister Mary Carina during her life as an educator and administrator would have little difficulty recognizing the Messianic qualities mentioned in the passage from Isaiah [42:1-8]. Her covenant with her God was expressed for many years in the daily, routine life of the Sister of Providence; in the gentle, even-handed way in which she dealt with others; in the attentiveness to the needs of her students and their parents; in her courageous dealing with the difficulties of administering large inner city schools under some difficult conditions,” began Sister Mary Roger Madden in her commentary for Sister Mary Carina Connors, who died Nov. 25.

Born March 2, 1907, in Lawrence, Mass., Catherine Marie Connors was one of two children of Cornelius and Mary Ann (Murphy) Connors. She attended grade school at St. Mary, Lawrence, and Cheverus, Malden, Mass. She attended high school at Cheverus and graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Academy. She entered the Congregation June 7, 1922, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1925, and 1930, respectively. Sister Mary Carina earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Notre Dame.

Sister Mary Carina began a long ministry in education in 1924 at St. Columbkille, Chicago. Her other Illinois schools included Immaculate Conception, Norwood Park; and Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Angela, St. Leo and St. Mel, Chicago. In Indiana, she ministered at St. Catherine, Fort Wayne; St. Benedict and St. Patrick, Terre Haute; and Holy Cross, Indianapolis. In Massachusetts, Sister Mary Carina ministered at St. Rose, Chelsea; and Sacred Hearts and Cheverus, Malden. On the East Coast, she also served at Holy Redeemer, College Park, and Ascension, Halethorpe, Md.; and St. Ann, Washington, D.C. From 1964 to 1967, Sister Mary Carina served as regional councilor of the Congregation’s Chicago Region. In 1983, she returned to the Woods and volunteered in a variety of capacities.

“In July of 1996, at the age of 89, Sister Mary Carina began what may well be, in God’s eyes, the most important of her ministries. It was uniquely her own, one, we can honestly say, that no one else could fulfill because it was her special participation in the Paschal Mystery of her Lord and God. Although still mentally alert, her eyesight gradually dimmed over the last ten years and her vision turned inwards,” said Sister Mary Roger.

“Now as we say farewell to the earthly vesture of our sister and our friend, we try to realize how interminable must have seemed the time as she waited the longed-for call to journey out of darkness. As we pray for Sister Mary Carina, we may hear, if we listen attentively, the faintest whisper of a response from our God: ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen one in whom my soul delights,’” concluded Sister Mary Roger.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Mary Carina was celebrated Nov. 29, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.

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