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Sister M. Colette Rhoney, OSF 1931-2023


Sister M. Colette Rhoney, OSF, who taught in Erie and Niagara counties, died March 6, 2023, at the age of 91.

Born June 22, 1931, to D. Vincent and Gertrude (Braas) Rhoney in Niagara Falls, Elizabeth Rhoney attended the Seminary of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Stella Niagara, before joining the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. She would go on to graduate from Rosary Hill College in Amherst, and Niagara University, where she earned a master’s in education.

Sister Colette entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity order in1949 at Stella Niagara, and professed her perpetual vows on Aug. 18, 1952. Her primary ministries include education, spiritual direction, and retreat ministry.

She taught at St. Benedict School in Eggertsville, St. Ann School in Buffalo, St. Lawrence School in Buffalo where she was also principal and superior. She also taught in the Dioceses of Columbus, Ohio; and Trenton, New Jersey, as well as at the St. Francis International School in Rome, Italy.

Sister Colette served as the interprovincial novitiate team director for the U.S. provinces of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity in Redwood City, California from 1970-1971. She was the novice director for Holy Name Province from 1971-1974, and was in charge of initial formation the following year.  She served as a spiritual director and retreat director from 1978-2017 and together with Father Tom Hartle, OFM, led many retreat programs in Assisi.

In the 1980s, she served as associate vicar for religious for the Diocese of Buffalo and Third Age Program director for the Sisters of St. Francis, Holy Name Province. She also led spiritual direction for the Diocesan Counseling Center, Buffalo, and the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, Hamburg.

She retired at Stella Niagara Health Center in October 2017.

Sister Colette is survived by her sister, Mary Alice Wonsiewski. She is predeceased by her parents and brothers James V., Paul J., Vincent and Michael D. Rhoney. 

A wake will be held Friday, March 10 from 3-7 p.m. with prayers at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, March 11 at 10 a.m., at Stella Niagara. Followed by burial at Sisters’ Cemetery, Stella Niagara.


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