I just received word that Sister Teresa Catherine Carberry passed away over the weekend in New Jersey. I am afraid I will miss the wake service tomorrow night and funeral on Wednesday, as I am on my way to visit with our Sisters in the United Kingdom for a couple of weeks. I know that the celebration of Sister Teresa Catherine’s life will be grand, with many stories told, laughter shared, and more than a few tears shed. There is nothing quite like the way that we say goodbye to our beloved Sisters.
Sister Teresa Catherine entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace 71 years ago. She was a teacher, principal, and administrator of St. Joseph’s Home for the Blind (now Cusack Care Center) in Jersey City. It is amazing to think of the countless number of lives she touched through her faithful and dedicated ministry to God’s people.
I was lucky enough to get to know Sister Teresa Catherine when she was my neighbor during my novitiate ministry experience in Jersey City. I lived with two Sisters in a house next door to Cusack Care Center, where Sister Teresa Catherine lived in the convent on the top floor with two other Sisters. Our two communities frequently got together to share meals and fellowship.
After a few weeks of being neighbors, I got to know Sister Teresa Catherine better when she asked me if I could give her some computer lessons. She was an eager student and wanted to get to know how to use the new technology. I discovered that she liked to play cards, and so I showed her how to play solitaire on the computer, which was also a way to get her comfortable with the mouse. Before long, she had an email account and was getting in touch with people electronically far and wide.
It wasn’t too long before our lessons turned into opportunities for our own far reaching conversations, which often lasted long past our computer lesson time. We talked about the history of our community, her experiences, the present state of the world, what it was like to enter religious life today as well as the future of religious life. While in the beginning I had a feeling that we did not have much in common, by the end of my three months as her neighbor I knew that deep down she was a kindred spirit, one I was proud to be able to call Sister.
Thank you Sister Teresa Catherine for your friendship and all you have given to our community and God’s people. I know that you will be praying for us and doing all you can for our little community from your new digs in heaven.