Sister Philip Marie Klein, OSF, marks 60 years as a Sister of St. Francis. A daughter of Syracuse, Sister attended Assumption Catholic Academy. She professed her first vows in 1959 and her final vows in 1962.
At the beginning of her missionary life, Sister Philip Marie taught school in Hoboken, N.J.; St. Peter’s, Utica; and at the Convent School in Syracuse. Sister Philip Marie’s life journey took a turn and she became interested in nursing, so she studied and became a Practical Nurse in 1972 while residing at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica. Her passion for nursing was evident as she worked with patients, listening to them, and sharing their stories — a time in her life that brought her much happiness.
When the Franciscan Villa opened in Syracuse, Sister Philip Marie went to live there, giving her time to rekindle her friendships with all her sisters living there. Sister is also an animal lover — in fact, she claims that after nursing, animals are her second passion. As a follower of St. Francis, who loved all of nature, this love for animals certainly fits her calling as a Franciscan.
Sister Mary Catherine Rayo (Sister Annette Francis), CSJ, is celebrating 60 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Raised in Syracuse and a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph on March 19, 1957. Sister Mary Catherine received a bachelor’s degree in business education and a master’s degree in education, both from The College of Saint Rose.
For the first 22 years of her religious life, Sister Mary Catherine taught business subjects in schools of the Syracuse and Albany Dioceses, including in the Syracuse Diocese, St. Lucy’s High School and West Side Catholic in Syracuse and Notre Dame High School in Utica. She also served in clerical positions for various organizations and agencies, including the Catholic Schools Office of the Eastern Region. For the past six years, Sister Mary Catherine has been a clerical assistant at Thea Bowman House, Inc., Utica.
Sister Mary Catherine reflects gratefully on the support she has received in her 60 years in religious life: “There were many influences on my decision to be a Sister of St. Joseph. When I graduated from high school, I began working in the Personnel Office of the Carrier Corporation. Interestingly enough, all of the staff of about 20 people were either Catholic from birth or converts to Catholicism! It was a great working environment. I used to discuss my vocation with one of my co-workers who was also interested in religious life but later married. I began to attend daily Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church and sat behind the Sisters. I’m sure that was also an inspiration to me.
“My mother was very supportive of my decision to enter religious life even though I know it was difficult for her when I actually left home. I didn’t tell my father until it was closer to the time of departure! All those with whom I worked were very encouraging and supportive of my decision.
“In my 60 years in religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, I have experienced much love and support from my Sisters in community and from the individuals with whom and to whom I ministered — as teacher, secretary, payroll clerk, and office assistant. The time has flown by!
“Religious life is a wonderful vocation! To anyone who might be discerning such a call from God, I would say, ‘Pray, pray, pray! God will answer!’”