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Sister M. Bernice Zieminski, OSF 1927-2021


Sister M. Bernice Zieminski, longtime teacher in the Diocese of Buffalo, died Aug. 23, 2021.

Sister M. Bernice Zieminski, OSF

Dorothy Zieminski was born in Buffalo on April 22, 1927, to Adalbert and Cecelia Zieminski, the oldest of seven children. Dorothy was baptized at Corpus Christi Parish in Buffalo and confirmed at St. Anthony Church, Grant Town, West Virginia. 

Sister Bernice’s family moved from Buffalo to Pennsylvania and West Virginia during the Depression years when her father worked as a coal miner. Due to those moves she attended grade school at St. Stanislaus in Buffalo, St. Stanislaus in Binghamton, Grant Town Grade School in West Virginia and high school at Fairview, West Virginia. Later she attended St. Mary’s Business School in Buffalo and Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsville. In pursuit of higher education, Sister Bernice attended St. Clare College, Mount St. Joseph Teachers’ College, Canisius College, Catholic University and St. Bonaventure University, ultimately achieving a master’s degree in Education.

Before Sister Bernice entered the convent, she worked at Chic Made Manufacturing Company where she made hats, for 25 cents per hour. Later, she worked as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone.

Sister entered the Sisters of St. Francis on Sept. 8, 1947, taking the name Sister M. Bernice. She made her final profession on July 3, 1953.  

After she entered the community, Sister Bernice taught various grade levels at many elementary schools throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, including SS. Peter & Paul, Hamburg; St. Bartholomew, Buffalo; St. Gerard, Buffalo; St. Aloysius, Springville; SS. Peter & Paul, Williamsville; Holy Name, Buffalo; St. Cecelia, Sheldon; Fourteen Holy Helpers, Gardenville; Our Lady of Pompei, Lancaster; St. Mary’s Elementary, Lancaster and St. Mary’s High School, Lancaster. Sister Bernice served for 60 years in education, 28 of which in the Lancaster area. 

Through the years, Sister Bernice displayed much strength and courage through her avid devotion to prayer and her tremendous commitment to her vocation, St. Francis, the Sisters of St. Francis, and to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Buffalo. 

She is survived by her siblings Mary Szcypierowski, Monica Schweers, Cecelia Nowicki and Richard Zieminski.

A funeral Mass was held Aug. 31, at SS. Peter & Paul Church in Williamsville. Burial took place at Gethsemane Cemetery.