Sister Dorothy Root, CSJ (Sister Amelia Joseph), 91, died Wednesday, Oct. 25, in Albany Medical Center. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 73 years.
Sister Dorothy was born in Syracuse on Nov. 8, 1925, the oldest child of Frederick and Amelia Kirsch Root. After graduating from St. John the Baptist Academy, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy on March 19, 1944, the first young woman to enter religious life from St. Margaret’s Parish in Mattydale. Sister Dorothy received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in speech, both from The College of Saint Rose.
She served for 32 years in schools of the Syracuse and Albany Dioceses, including a stint as teacher at St. Paul’s School, Binghamton. She worked for 15 years at St. Francis de Sales School, Utica, where she was both teacher and principal. In 1979, Sister Dorothy began a new career path in parish ministry at Holy Family Parish in Fulton where she served for nine years. From Fulton, she went to St. Joseph’s Parish in Lee Center where she served as pastoral associate for the next 20 years, a position from which she retired in 2008 when her health required a move to St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham.
Sister Dorothy loved her family, her religious community, her friends, and all whom she served as a Sister of St. Joseph. A woman of deep faith, she had a remarkable passion for spreading God’s unconditional love. Whether teaching children, supervising faculty, or visiting hospitals and nursing homes, Sister Dorothy greeted people with a compassion that knew no bounds and a generosity of spirit that made interacting with her a blessing and a privilege. Ever giving and forgiving, Sister Dorothy was able to approach nearly every situation with grace and wisdom. In her relaxing moments, she enjoyed skiing in the Adirondacks, cheering for Syracuse University basketball, or simply visiting with family and friends. Sister Dorothy taught us how to live with empathy, kindness, and patience, and she taught us how to die with courage, dignity, and peace.
Sister Dorothy is survived by her beloved brothers and sisters: John (the late Marilyn) and David (Ruth) Root; Mary Cappon and Jeanne (Leo/Bud) Spear; her sister-in-law, Rosemary Root; her brother-in-law, Cornelius (Red) Riley; several nieces and nephews and their families; many cousins including Sister Sara Kirsch; her dear friend, Rev. Paul V. Carey; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet with special mention of her cherished friends, Sister Carolyn Schanz and Sister Jean Burns. In addition to her parents, Sister Dorothy was predeceased by her sister, Anne Riley; her brother, Charles Root; and her nephews Edward Spear and John (Barney) Riley.
Sister Dorothy’s Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Oct., 28, at the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Contributions in Sister Dorothy’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y. 12110.