On Nov. 12, Sister Mary Sheila O’Hara, CSJ, 96, passed away at
St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 77 years.
Sister Mary Sheila, the former Jane Anne O’Hara, was born in Syracuse, N.Y., on Nov. 11, 1919, daughter of the late C. Joseph and Mary Casey O’Hara. After graduating from St. Patrick’s High School, Syracuse, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, N.Y., on March 19, 1938, and professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1943.
Sister Mary Sheila received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, both in English, from The College of Saint Rose, and a certificate in theology from Providence College. For 51 years, she served as teacher, librarian and pastoral associate in many schools and parishes in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses, including 13 years at St. Francis de Sales in Utica, and 13 years at Blessed Sacrament in Syracuse. In addition, Sister Mary Sheila volunteered in many capacities at St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
She was a gentle, gracious woman whose love for God, family, friends and those whom she served shone from inside out and captivated the hearts of all who knew her. As a teacher of English and Latin, she was challenging and firm, but also kind and concerned. As a parish minister, she tenderly brought God’s warm, compassionate presence to the elderly, the sick and those with mental disabilities. As a family member, she was a proud, supportive and attentive sister and aunt. As a Sister of St. Joseph, she was wholeheartedly committed to bringing God’s unifying and reconciling love to her prayer, her community life and her service. Sister Mary Sheila was dearly loved and respected, and her presence will long remain among us.
Sister Mary Sheila is survived by several beloved nieces and nephews and their families, with special mention of her devoted niece, Mary Jane (Mimi) Migon; by many friends, including her faithful friend, Kay Farrell; and by the Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by six brothers: Joseph Paul, Robert, Joseph David, John, James and Dr. Edward O’Hara; and by two sisters, Mary Mulvey and Margaret Burkhardt.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Nov. 17 in the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Contributions in Sister Mary Sheila’s name may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Rd., Latham, N.Y. 12110.