Sister Sylvia Comer (Sister Mary de Porres)

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Age 93

Sister Sylvia radiated mercy in her prayerfulness, a life of love for God, tenderness for the downtrodden, and a heart filled with compassion. 

A first-grade teacher for 18 years, at various schools in the Portland, Maine, diocese, she also taught religion at Long Creek Youth Development Center in Portland, a detention center and juvenile correctional facility, and for the Diocesan Bible School via television. She served as formation director for 11 years for young women seeking a religious vocation, instilling her passion for mercy.

Sister Sylvia continued her education at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., receiving a master’s degree in religious studies. She returned to Portland ministering as a diocesan coordinator, engaging in religious education teacher training. She also served for five years as pastoral minister at St. Joseph’s Parish, Gardiner, Maine, joyfully sharing her gifts with the parishioners.

She obtained a second master’s degree in sacred theology at Regis College, Toronto, Canada, and served at St. Joseph College in Standish, Maine, as director of the religious certificate program. She established 15 certificate sites and an Office of Campus Ministry to help develop the spiritual lives of the students and served as co-chaplain, chaplain, and then as director of campus ministry. At the age of 75, she still volunteered to go to Appalachia with students eagerly packing her sleeping bag and camping supplies to help build houses for those in need. In her later years, she volunteered and provided spiritual direction.