Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Marguerite Reilly, CSJ

Sister Marguerite Reilly, CSJ, 89, died Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 68 years.

 Sister Marguerite, the former Marie Theresa Reilly, was born March 20, 1919, in Troy, daughter of the late Thomas and Harriet Martin Reilly. After graduating from St. Joseph’s Academy in Schenectady, Sister Marguerite attended The College of Saint Rose. On March 19, 1940, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and professed final vows on August 15, 1945. Sister Marguerite received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in biology, both from The College of Saint Rose, and a doctorate in zoology from St. John’s University, Queens. In addition, she pursued post-doctoral studies in biotechnology and molecular genetics at Villanova University and Rutgers University. For the first 18 years of her life as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Marguerite taught in schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. In 1960, she began a 40-year career at The College of Saint Rose as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor and professor emeritus of biology, as well as serving a term as chairperson of the college’s then Division of Natural Sciences.


Scholar, educator and scientist, Sister Marguerite saw God’s hand in the beauty and complexity of all living things. A kind and gentle woman with a ready smile, she focused her teaching career on making biology and zoology accessible and understandable. Her interests were wide-ranging and included embryology, genetics and later, biotechnology and ecology. Sister Marguerite viewed learning as a lifelong pursuit of wisdom.


Sister Marguerite was very devoted to her family. She is survived by her sister, Elizabeth (Betty) Reilly; her nephews: Jack (Susan) Reilly and Jim (Kathy) Reilly; her niece, Lynn Brown, and their families; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, Thomas and John, and by many friends in the Sisters of St. Joseph.


Sister Marguerite’s funeral Liturgy was held Friday, June 13, from the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Interment was in Our Lady Queen of Virgins Cemetery on the Provincial House grounds.


Contributions in Sister Marguerite’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110