Sister Mary Timothea was a Sister of Mercy for 73 years. One thing that everyone will remember about Sister Mary Timothea is her beautiful smile. For the past few years, that was her way of communicating that she recognized someone or her happiness at something. She had special smiles when she was greeted on her birthday or St. Patrick’s Day when the community serenaded her with “Peggy O’Neill.”
She entered the Sisters of Mercy in September of 1948. Along with completing her novitiate and juniorate, She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Our Lady of Cincinnati College and later a Master of Education from Xavier University.
She taught elementary school, middle and upper grades from 1962 to 1965. She then became the principal of St. Richard of Chichester School. For all but her last four years there, she also taught Grade 8. So many of those who knew her at St. Richard’s remembered her fondly. They would always ask about her and had such kind things to say. Then she moved to McAuley High School, where she taught theology for many years. Finally, Father George Kunkel invited her to do Pastoral Ministry with the elderly at St. Martin of Tours. She was known for working with the elderly all day, then coming home to make calls to the ones she didn’t have time to see. It was another setting in which she was well-loved.
She had moved to McAuley Convent in 1965 and lived there the remainder of her days. She cared for her mother for years, bringing her to Mass on Sunday mornings. She was very close to her sisters Colleen and Eileen and their children. She enjoyed playing bridge, was very interested in history and visiting historical sights. For many years she part of a group that was present for liturgy and dinner at the McAuley, Oakwood convent every Thursday night. Sister was always a dedicated member of the McAuley Community.
In the last two years she worked at St. Martins, she started becoming forgetful. Unlike many people with dementia, she was very aware that things were not right. She had trouble finding her keys or remembering what she was supposed to do. Father George, the pastor there, was finally able to convince her that it was time to retire from her ministry there. A wonderful Mass and dinner were held in her honor. Finally, she worked for several years as a patient visitor at Llanfair and then formally retired in 2009.
Those who remember Sister Mary Timothea think of her as quiet and maybe somewhat retiring, although she had no trouble handling junior high boys and high school girls. So many former students and parishioners asked about her even though she had been away from those ministries for 15 or 20 years. Sister Mary Timothea had a deep spirituality. She had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Community prayer and her own private prayer life were the most important parts of her day. She felt privileged to be able to share her faith with those with whom she ministered, with her family, and with those with whom she lived community. In her final years, she was rarely able to communicate, although, when one of her nephews came to visit a few years ago, she almost miraculously asked him whether he still worked at Red Wing Shoes. He still did. When people she didn’t ordinarily see came, she would frequently perk up as though she recognized the person. Confined to her wheelchair, she seemed to enjoy her meals, sometimes even feeding herself finger foods. She was infinitely patient and seemed comfortable and almost always content. Of course, no one will ever know how much she realized about what was going on around her. What we do know is that it was a real privilege to have known her.