Sr. Deidre Cotter

cotter-deidreDominican Sister of Peace Deirdre Cotter (90) died on January 3, 2017, at Sansbury Care Center (St. Catharine, KY). She was born in 1926 to John and Kathleen Cotter in County Cork, Ireland, and was brought to Massachusetts as a small child. She attended Blessed Sacrament School and Holy Rosary Academy in Watertown, MA, and there she met the Dominican Sisters.

In 1946, after a brief experience working in a law firm, she requested admission to Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace. In her letter of request, she stated that her object in choosing religious life “is to serve God in the way you find me most fitted for.”

Sr. Deidre earned a Bachelor of Arts in History/English from Siena College (Memphis, TN). As did many women religious of her time, even before she completed her degree, she ministered as a teacher in several schools: St. James (Kearney, NE); Our Lady of Peace (Chicago, IL); St. Luke (Ogallala, NE); Our Lady of the Wayside (Arlington Heights, IL); Mt. Trinity Academy (Watertown, MA); St. Mel (Gloucester, MA); SS Simon and Jude (Brooklyn, NY); and St. Angela (Mattapan, MA). Upon completion of her degree she served as principal at St. Patrick (W. Lynn, MA); Our Lady of Lourdes (Queens Village, NY); St. Frances deSales (Charlestown, MA); and St. Matthew (Dorchester, MA).

Sr. Deirdre was 77 years old when she left the classroom and became a volunteer tutor. She later served as a driver at Rosary Manor (Watertown, MA). In 2006, she moved to Sansbury Care Center (St. Catharine, KY), where she entered a ministry of prayer and presence.

In her reflection at the funeral, Sr. Ann Bernardine Shaw described Sr. Deirdre:

Deirdre was one of the most unassuming people I know. She loved her Irish roots and all that they encompassed. She was happy in the classroom and as a principal. We were principals together when she was at St. Matthew School in the Dorchester section of Boston. We struggled together, even as we shared many laughs, when we became part of a community to start a formation house in the Boston area.

Deirdre had many loves, and she especially loved her Irish roots. It only took a few moments of conversation before her Irish wit and charm came through. She loved her two families, her birth family and her Dominican family.

And did you ever see anyone so neat? Deirdre worked as hard as anyone in the house, but she always looked like she just got dressed. Some of that, perhaps, can be connected with her sense of professionalism. Deirdre loved being involved in education. She was a good teacher and administrator. And, whether in the classroom or at home, she never lost her temper.

While her last years were difficult ones for her, you could frequently hear Deirdre asking the Blessed Mother to help her. Like Saint Paul, she did completed the race and she kept the faith. And so now we say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Rest in peace.”

Sr. Deirdre is survived by her sister Ann Doran and by one niece and nephew.

The wake and Mass of Christian Burial were held on January 12 and 13 at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Burial was in the St. Catharine Motherhouse cemetery.

Memorial gifts in Sr. Deirdre’s memory may be submitted securely online or sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098.

Posted in Obituaries

2 responses to “Sr. Deidre Cotter

  1. I knew Sister Deirdre very well. She was the principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Queens Village NY, from which I graduated in 1973. My mother taught there and she and Sister Deirdre became good friends ( one very funny memory is when Sister came to our house for dinner, something which was a great honor. In the course of the meal we realized that her fork was emblazoned with OLL — it was from the school cafeteria! We laughed). Sister Deirdre was a wonderful Sister, who with great grace served as principal of 1400 children, the congregation’s largest school. Her impact will long outlast her mortal life.

  2. I attended Mount Trinity as a child back in the early 1960s and remember Sr. Deirdre quite fondly. I reflect on my early days at school as the core of soul and character. Thank you and well done Sr. Deirdre with eternal gratitude.
    Martin Donovan as well as my three sisters elder sisters
    Rita, Kathleen and Nancy

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