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Sister Therese Joyce, OSF, 1919-2023


Sister Therese Joyce, OSF, a teacher, principal and librarian, died Oct. 9, 2023, at the age of 104.

Born Aug. 10, 1919, and baptized Katherine Rita Joyce, Sister Therese arrived at her grandmother’s home in County Galway in Ireland while others from the family were at church. She explained that her mother, Mary McDonnell Joyce, had traveled back to Ireland to see her dying mother, and during the visit went into labor. Her father, Peter Joyce, also a native of Ireland, had stayed behind at their home outside of Boston.

Sister Therese attended St. Patrick’s and St. John’s Schools and graduated from Roxbury Memorial, all located in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She attended Mount St. Joseph Teacher’s College in Buffalo, St. Elizabeth Teacher’s College in Allegany, and Nazareth College in Rochester, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in Education with a concentration in English and a minor in History.  She pursued graduate studies at Glassboro State, Mount St. Cloud State College in Minnesota, and Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, graduating with a master of science degree in Library Science.

Sister Therese Joyce, OSF, entered the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany order on Aug. 14, 1940, was received into the congregation on Aug. 15, 1941, and professed her final vows on Aug. 16, 1948. Committed to the Franciscan charism, Sister lived for 83 years as a devoted member of the Allegany Franciscan Sisters sharing her life in community and ministry.

Sister Therese’s ministry in education includes teaching in congregational schools, St. Margaret’s in Winsted, Connecticut; Christ the King in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and Assumption in Pamona, where she also served as principal and superior of the convent.

Her career as a librarian began at St. Mary’s of the Angels Academy in Haddonfield, New Jersey and included St. John’s the Baptist in West Islip where she was the department chairperson of the library for 20 years. In 2006, after serving congregational schools for 66 years, Sister Therese retired and was warmly welcomed home to St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany.

Retirement certainly didn’t slow her down, as her daily schedule included a thorough front to back reading of several newspapers, a full day of activities at the motherhouse, taking time to write a note of gratitude, send birthday wishes, complete word puzzles, opening and responding to personal mail and of course, praying.

Sister Therese is predeceased by her parents, Peter and Mary McDonnell Joyce; Sisters: Sister M. Francis Joyce, a Franciscan Sister of Allegany, Margaret “Peggy” Joyce, and Patricia Boutilier, her brothers James M. Joyce and John J. “Joe” Joyce.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 19, in the chapel at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse with Father Peter Joyce, presiding.  Burial followed at St. Bonaventure Cemetery.


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