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Sister Martha Joseph, SSJ 1922-2021

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Sister Martha Joseph, a World War II worker, and a long-time teacher, parish minister and volunteer, died March 3, 2021, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence in Clarence. She was 98.

Born in Buffalo on July 15, 1922, to Diab and Attaf Anne (Attea) Joseph, Sister was the youngest of 10 children. She worked in the rationing department at Buffalo City Hall during World War II before entering the Sisters of St. Joseph in September 1944. She made her final vows in August 1950 taking the name Sister Regina Marie..

She received a bachelor’s in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers (now Medaille) College in 1962 and a master’s in special education for the deaf in 1972 from Canisius College.

During 59 years of active ministry, Sister Martha taught in Medina, Buffalo, Falconer and Alden.  She was assigned to minister at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf three times. Over those 23 years, she served as teacher, supervisor of boys and girls, coordinator and manager of captioned films for the deaf. Flexible, she taught at all levels. “When they needed a Sister, I was there,” she said.

Active in St. John Maron Parish, Sister was bookkeeper and coordinated the religion program for several years.    

Sister spent seven years in the Southern Tier, volunteering at WCA Hospital, being a pastoral minister and teaching CCD at St. Patrick Parish in Randolph. She gathered lay people interested in the spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph and arranged for them to become associates of the sisters. 

Although “retired” in 2005, Sister was active at the Clarence residence, caring for her sister, Sister Thecla, and assisting with social programs for the sisters. She embraced the ministry of prayer for many years and often said, “I never had a bad day in my life.”  

Sister is survived by many nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be offered on March 9 at St. John Maron Church, Williamsville.  Burial will take place in the sisters’ section of Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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