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Sr. Mary Bernadette Deeney

Dominican Sister of Peace Mary Bernadette Deeney, OP (91), a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, died on September 29, 2016, at Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine, Kentucky.

A Dominican for 64 years, Sr. Bernadette earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Siena College (Memphis, TN).  She ministered as a teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes (Queens Village, NY); St. Mary (Williamstown, NJ); St. Michael (Orland Park, IL); St. Joseph (Mattoon, IL); SS Simon and Jude (Brooklyn, NY); and Rosary Academy (Watertown, MA).  When she left teaching, she ministered as a nurses’ aide and plant administrator at Maristhill Nursing Home in Waltham, MA.  Later, she served as plant manager at both ElderServe and Rosary Manor in Watertown, MA.  In 1999, Sr. Bernadette provided community service at Rosary Manor in Watertown, MA. 

Sr. Mary Bernadette Deeney

In 2008, Sr. Bernadette moved to Sansbury Care Center (St. Catharine, KY), where she began a ministry of prayer and presence.

Sr. Elaine DesRosiers remembers Sr. Bernadette as "a gentle lady who brought that same gentleness to all her responsibilities, including her ministry as plant manager at Rosary Manor."

Sr. Rita Imelda Sullivan remarked on Sr. Bernadette’s love and devotion for her family. "She was so considerate and the very best of friends. I enjoyed the privilege of family outings with her."

"Sr. Bernadette was always solicitous about how others were doing," Sr. Rose Marie Cummins said. "She gave me a new understanding of the word 'obedience,' and I mean that in the very best sense.  When she came to Sansbury the first time, she worked hard to be able to return to Rosary Manor. When she returned to Sansbury for the second time, she knew it was the right place for her.  Sr. Bernadette was a compassionate woman who could see way beyond her own health and concerns.  I always came away from her with a sense of peace."

In her reflections at the funeral, Sr. Ann Bernardine Shaw said:

I wonder if Sr. Bernadette made a pact with God to be buried on the feast of the Holy Rosary. I always connect her with the rosary. When I first knew her at Rosary Manor in Watertown, I was inspired to find her each evening in the chapel, praying the rosary. You didn’t need to check. If someone was looking for her, you just needed to say, "She’s in the chapel."

When I moved to St. Catharine a few years ago, I realized that Bernadette kept up that prayerful habit. So it seems fitting to me that her funeral mass be on this feast of the Holy Rosary.

Mary Bernadette experienced the joyful mysteries in her early days of ministry in teaching, nursing, and working for Elder Serve in the Boston area. Bit by bit, the sorrowful mysteries made themselves known as she saw loved ones leave this world to be with God. Her own suffering added to her contemplation of the sorrowful mysteries. And now, she is experiencing the glorious mysteries of being with and enjoying the presence of God.

Mary Bernadette lived her life always looking forward to the day when she would receive her reward as a "good and faithful servant." While our hearts are a bit heavy with her passing, we know she is with her God and his mother whom she knew so well.

Sr. Joan Monica McGuire lived and taught with Sr. Bernadette in Orland Park, IL. "She was always so prayerful and kind. As a community member she was fun and pleasant to be around. Students and parents respected her. I was with her as death neared. Despite being in pain Sr. Bernadette was peaceful and joyful in her last hours."

Sr. Bernadette is survived by her brother Jack and her two sisters Helen LaPointe and Ann Douville as well as several nieces and nephews.

The visitation and Mass of Christian Burial were held October 6 and 7, 2016, at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel, St. Catharine, KY. Burial was at the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Bernadette's memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219.

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