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Obituary: Sister Paula Dzurisin, OSBM

Sr. PaulaIn the early days of the community, Sister Paula would awake from sleep to prepare for morning prayer in the Monastery. On the morning of April 28, she awoke instead to a new life, a life where she was welcomed into the embrace of the Lord she served so faithfully for over 70 years.

Sr. Paula (Anna) Dzurisin was born in Pittston, Pa., the daughter of the late George and Mary (Kizlin) Dzurisin.  A member of St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Parish in Pittston, Pa., she entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great on June 23, 1947. Sr. Paula made her Final Profession of Vows on August 28, 1953 in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.

As with many of those who entered at the time, Sr. Paula spent a good number of years as a teacher and principal in the parish schools of the Metropolitan Province of Pittsburgh. She also taught business courses at Mount Macrina Academy.  There for only one year, the impression she made was such that her students were sure to visit her during the Alumnae reunions.

After almost a half century in the teaching ministry, Sr. Paula returned to the Monastery where she spent a year volunteering in pastoral visiting at the Manor. She was a great conversationalist, and her interest in people was mutually enriching in this ministry.

Her background in business education, however, led to her next assignment, that of managing the Card Department at the monastery for the next eight years. When it was necessary to lessen her responsibilities, Sr. Paula continued to assist in that same ministry for another eight years, graciously handing over the management to another Sister. It was only after this full life in active ministry that Sr. Paula was admitted to the Manor due to declining health.

In her vocation story, Sister wrote that her response to God’s call came only after she repeatedly would say, “No, this isn’t for me, but the call continued to haunt me.”  Having finally said “Yes” to her call, she wrote, “The lived experience of my call became like a precious container filled with love that increased the desire within me to share this love with others. This wonderful gift, my Vocation, has been, is, and will continue to be an exciting challenge for me to live my life to the fullest.”

Sr. Paula was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Rev. Monsignor George, Joseph, Michael, and John and her sisters, Sister M. Philip and Mary Wascavage.  In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her brother Paul (Dorothy) and many devoted nephews and nieces.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Wed., May 2 from 3:30 p.m. to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Archbishop William C. Skurla on Thurs., May 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the Monastery Chapel. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

 

Sr. Maria Petruska, OSBM Completes Her Earthly Journey

Sr. MariaHaving fallen asleep in the Lord late in the evening of April 11, 2018, +Sister Maria Petruska (formerly Sister Juvenalia) woke to a new dawn in the heavenly kingdom. In the last years of her life, Sister was a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor, and it was from here that she took her final steps into eternity.

The daughter of the late Andrew and Mary (Ciparik) Petruska, Sister Maria, was born in the village of Ruska Nova Ves in what is now Slovakia. She entered the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Mahanoy City, PA on January 15, 1942 and made her Final Profession of Vows on January 8, 1950.

Her active life in ministry was comprised of teaching from the elementary to secondary levels within the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Province. At the college level, she taught at the Fayette Campus of Penn State. Her teaching ministry on the college level then led her to seek broader experiences, taking her to Bethlehem University, to Guam, Japan and Tanzania. Her experiences of teaching in foreign countries were among her fondest memories.

Retiring from this active ministry, Sister Maria then became involved as a tutor at the Intermediate Unit I Adult Learning Center in Uniontown. Because of her teaching experience in foreign countries, Sister Maria stated that the choice to tutor for the learning center came naturally. As a native of Slovakia, she had an empathy for those lacking proficiency in English. For her, teaching English as a second language was a joy, not a job. Some of the friends she made through this work kept in contact with her over the years.

Sister Maria was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Helen and Margaret Petruska, and her brothers, Rev. Gregory Petruska and Andrew Petruska. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her brother, Rev. Christopher Petruska and her sister Theresa (Bill) Ortmann.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Wednesday, April 18 from 3:30 p.m. to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Thursday, April 19 at 10:30 am in the Monastery Chapel by Archbishop William C. Skurla. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home, Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.

Celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14

To shine a spotlight on the profound impact of Catholic sisters in our communities and around the world, and in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, the third annual National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW) will be held March 8–14.

NCSW was created to honor women religious through a series of events, taking place across the country, that instruct, enlighten and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women. It’s our chance to recognize everything sisters have done for us.

National Catholic Sisters Week, a branch of National Catholic Sisters Project headquartered at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisc., is headquartered at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., and is held in conjunction with Women’s History Month..

To learn more about NCSW or to engage via social media, visit www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org.

 

Obituary: SISTER RITA KESHOCK, OSBM

Sr. RitaEarly in the morning of Sun., Nov. 19, 2017, Sr. Rita (Florence) Keshock fell asleep in the Lord at Mt. Macrina Manor. While the community was praying Matins on Sunday, commemorating the Resurrection, she surely met her Risen Lord with joy and gladness.

Sr. Rita, the daughter of the late Michael and Sophia (Backus) Keshock, was born in Campbell, Ohio. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Youngstown, Ohio, on June 12, 1947, and made her Final Profession of Vows on Aug. 28, 1953.

Sr. Rita spent half of her religious life in the ministry of education for which she was well–prepared, having earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education. While she served diligently in the many schools staffed by the Sisters at that time, there was a new ministry waiting for her in the wings. An article in the Byzantine Catholic World dated Jan. 14, 1996 summed it up in the words: Basilian Sister Finds New Home in the World of Art.

This was her passion. In her own words, Sr. Rita explained, “I am now a painter, a calligrapher, a crafter and an etcher.” Having learned the craft of etching onto eggs, she discovered that this would be a perfect medium for producing icons. Spending hours in her art room Sr. Rita noted that she often became lost in meditative thought of the beauty of life as she worked. Sister took great pride in the fact that, particularly her etched icons, were displayed in a number of exhibits throughout the country. She also taught the craft of etching on eggs to others in numerous workshops, thus leaving a legacy of this favored ministry of hers.

Sr. Rita was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Mary Louise and Alice (Kuzmack) and her brother Edward. She is survived by her brothers John (Katherine), Robert (+Kathryn) and Charles (Joann), her sister-in-law, Mary Jo and several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Fri., Nov. 24, 3:30 p.m. to the time of the Parastas Service, which will be sung at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Sat., Nov. 25 at 10:30 a.m. in the Monastery Chapel by Archbishop William C. Skurla. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Obituary: Sr. Helen Millow, OSBM

6J0A0014The daughter of the late Michael and Mary (Hrinda) Millow, Sister Helen was born in Scranton, Pa. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from St. John the Baptist Church in Scranton, Pa., on October 1, 1964 and made her Final Profession of Vows on August 6, 1972.

A graduate of Technical High School in Scranton, she was the valedictorian of her class of 400, an achievement that was not widely known beyond her family.  She was employed by the Dun and Bradstreet Agency for six years prior to her entrance into religious life.

As a Sister, she earned a B.S. degree in education from Marywood University which benefited her as she began her ministry in religious life, serving as teacher and then also principal in several of the schools staffed by the Sisters throughout the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. From 1980 until 1997, Sister Helen was the monastery coordinator, assistant treasurer and treasurer of her Province of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

From 1995 to 2005 she worked with the staff of the Eparchy of Parma as assistant eparchial finance officer.  Upon the completion of this assignment, she returned to the monastery and continued to capably fill the office of Province Treasurer, until her illness brought her to a short time of retirement.

Her extensive knowledge of finances, insurance and investments was a great asset in her role as capable treasurer both for the community and the Eparchy of Parma. She will be fondly remembered for her love for and fidelity to her Basilian community.

Sister Helen was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Michael. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her sisters Mary Ann McLaughlin (+Charles), Anna Mae (Stanley) Lehman, Jean (Kenneth) Morgan, her sister-in-law Bernadette Millow and nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Sisters of St. Basil Plan for the Future

MonasteryLike many other religious communities of Sisters, the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great of Uniontown, Pa. are facing the challenges of decreasing vocation numbers and shrinking resources.

The Sisters, who make their home at Mount St. Macrina (formerly Oak Hill estate and the home J.V. Thompson, of the famous coal baron), are in the midst of planning a future for underutilized and aging structures on the property.

“Right now we are in the initial planning stages and we are seeking possible candidates who may have innovative plans for these buildings,” said Sr. Ruth Plante, Provincial, Sisters of St. Basil.

The Sisters are considering many ideas, including affordable housing, medical and education services. It is of upmost importance for them to keep with the mission of their community – “a praying, healing, life-giving presence.”

The Sisters plan to remain living at Mount St. Macrina and will continue their ministry of the annual Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which has been held over Labor Day weekend for the past 83 years.

Originally the property, situated along the National Road (Route 40), was acquired by the Sisters in 1933, after J.V. Thompson went into bankruptcy.  The House of Prayer, which is now a retreat center, was his three-story mansion. The Oak Hill estate was a wedding gift to his second wife Honey. Thompson died in 1933 and the Sisters moved onto the property in December 1933, and their first Pilgrimage was held the following year.

Recently, the Sisters were awarded a grant from the National Religious Retirement Office. The grant paid for an evaluation of the property and buildings. The study was conducted by Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction, Appleton, Wisc.

A request for proposals will soon be distributed. Plans are to review the proposals in late winter-early spring.

“The halls and grounds are filled with so many memories. The thought of sharing or letting pieces of the property go is very emotional for us, but also very necessary. We trust God will send us the right people to continue his plan,” added Ruth.

The Sisters have enlisted the services of Newmark Grubb, a real estate marketing firm in Pittsburgh, to create a marketing brochure.