Sister Cordelia Moran (formerly Sister Ann de Sales)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. Through the Word all things came into being, and apart from the Word nothing came into being. In the Word was life, and that life was humanity’s light – Light that shines in the darkness, a Light that the darkness has never overtaken. Then came one named John, sent as an envoy from God, who came as a witness to testify about the light, so that through his testimony everyone might believe.”
A reading from the Prologue of John’s Gospel – The Word of God
In 1930, came one named Sister Cordelia Ann Moran. Before her own light was extinguished late in the evening of Feb. 13, 2014, she spent her life using words to give testimony to this word whom she recognized and loved as life and light for all, said Sister Dawn Tomaszewki in her commentary on the life of Sister Cordelia Ann Moran, who was 83, and a Sister of Providence for 62 years.
This lover of words, this writer, teacher and editor of words was born to Harry and Chella Addington Morgan on May 8, 1930, in Adrian, Mich. It makes such sense that a woman named Chella would give her daughter the name Cordelia.
Sister Cordelia was the oldest Moran child, followed by a sister, Fran, who has preceded Sister Cordelia in death, and by much younger brother, Chris, who was forever the apple of Sister Cordelia’s eye. She enjoyed Chris and his wife, Cheryl, and all their children so lovingly. We are grateful for your presence with us at this time.
Sister Cordelia grew up and attended school in Adrian, Mich., although she was baptized as an infant at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. She would return to Indiana as a student at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1947, where she found her niche in the journalism department and discovered a call to religious life.
The congenial and fun-loving Corky Moran entered the Sisters of Providence on July 22, 1951, within months of graduating from the college with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. She professed first vows on Jan. 23, 1954, and final vows in 1959.
She received the religious name Ann de Sales – a sign not only of her religious profession but a further indicator of her identity as messenger of the word. St. Francis de Sales is the patron of journalists and of the Catholic Press. Besides two well-known books, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence.
Sister Cordelia has no known books to her credit, but her students do. In the course of a teaching career that spanned 23 years, her students produced hundreds of articles for school newspapers and news magazines – including The Marywood Life of Marywood High School, Evanston, Ill.; the Twin Towers of Providence High School, Chicago; the Woods Magazine of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College; and the Pioneer Press of Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville, Ind. Many of those young authors were inspired to careers of their own as journalists, wordsmiths and communications specialists.
But in the beginning, they learned to love words. As teacher as well as advisor to all these student publications, Sister Ann de Sales, Sister Cordelia, not only taught her students to write but also to spin a good story, to engender school spirit, to reflect on information and interpret its meaning for others, and to move others to action, even if that meant challenging the status quo.
Throughout Sister Cordelia’s teaching career, she honed her own skills, receiving a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University in 1966, returning to Indiana University and also to Ohio State University for additional course work in later years.
She ended her full-time teaching career in 1975, after completing eight years of service at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as chairperson of the journalism department. In addition to the aforementioned high schools where she was publication advisor as well as journalism and English teacher, she taught two years in the juniorate or aspirancy.
Though it is not on her ministry record, she filled in one semester at Corpus Christi High School in Galesburg when Sister Jean Margaret Kaindl became ill. Sister Cordelia taught physics, or at least tried to, in what she termed her greatest lesson in learning to trust Providence and Sister Alma Louise Mescher’s tutoring the night before every class.
In 1975, she launched a second career as a communicator herself. After a brief stint as an assistant editor with the American Camping Association, she became the director of public relations and development at Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville.
In 1979, she returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, but this time as the director of communications for the congregation, laying the groundwork for what today is the office of Mission Advancement. During this time, she probably wrote as many pamphlets, brochures and articles as her beloved Francis de Sales.
Following a sabbatical with the Corpus Program of Seattle University in 1984, she served as public relations and marketing coordinator for Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. Following that, she moved into ministry at St. Matthew Parish in Indianapolis, first as pastoral associate and then as a parish volunteer.
She returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 2004, supporting the work of the Mission Advancement office (now Mission Advancement) as editor and encourager.
After six years of volunteering for OCA, she entered the ministry of prayer in 2011.
Funeral services were Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Mass of Christian Burial was Thursday, Feb. 20.
We welcome you to share your comments on the life of Sister Cordelia in the comment section below.
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