Age 102

Sister Mary Stanislaus Zita was a Sister of Mercy for 62 years. Sister Stanislaus grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. She attended St. Mary Grade School and Cathedral High School, both in Trenton, run by the Sisters of Mercy. After graduating from Cathedral in 1937, she got her first job with the State of New Jersey. Over the next 20 years she moved from machine operator to senior claims supervisor, handling unemployment and disability issues. She was also a caregiver until the death of her mother. She enjoyed the freedom of an apartment and a good income, but the soft, yet insistent call to religious life persisted.

She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1959, completed her education, receiving a B.A. in English and an M.A. in French, and began teaching in St. John School in Collingswood. When the Junior College opened at Mount Saint Mary in Watchung, her secretarial background fitted her well for the role of Registrar. She enjoyed this position and developed a close friendship with the president, Sister Mary Giovanni. On one occasion, noting her age, Sister Stanislaus told her friend she doubted that she would live to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. Sister Giovanni assured her that she would!

When the college closed, she moved to Camden Catholic High School where she taught French on all four levels for the next 21 years. She firmly believed that immersion in the culture as well as mastering the language was important for her students and organized frequent trips to expose them to the history, dialects and customs that characterized the different regions. She traveled over summer vacations with friends and was known for also exploring on her own. A scholarship to study at the University of Pau was a highlight of her life.

In retirement, Sister Stanislaus wished she could do more and regretted deeply the gradual decline of her vision. Her patient acceptance of a smaller world was indeed an inspiration.