Sister Antonella Giba, CSJ
Sister Antonella Giba, CSJ, 88, died on July 28, 2006, in St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. Sister Antonella had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 68 years.
Helen Giba was one of four daughters born to Anthony and Anna Evanisko Giba. She and her sisters, Mary, Irene and Theresa grew up in St. Lucy's Parish in Syracuse, New York. Helen graduated from St. Lucy's Academy and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1938. In her life story Sister Antonella wrote: "When I was a senior in high school, the sister who was the principal asked me if I ever thought about religious life. Then, in the confessional the priest asked me the same question. That got me thinking about becoming a sister. It was a struggle because I wanted no part of it, but the Lord had ways to help me make a decision." When Helen graduated from high school, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was given the name Sister Antonella.
Sister Antonella earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in science from The College of Saint Rose. After teaching for many years, she earned her certificate in clinical-pastoral education from the Loretta Geriatric Center in Syracuse. Her teaching career began in sixth grade at St. Mary's Academy, Glens Falls, where she taught for eleven years. From 1951 to 1983 she taught math and science in various high schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses, including St. Mary's Institute, Amsterdam; St. Mary's in Hudson; St. Patrick's and Catholic Central in Binghamton; St. Francis and Notre Dame in Utica and St. Patrick's in Syracuse. She will always be remembered as a wonderful, dedicated teacher.
In 1983 Sister Antonella began her new ministry in pastoral care, serving at the Crouse Irving Hospital and the Van Dyne Nursing Home in Syracuse. Her gentle and pleasant manner was a comfort and an inspiration to all with whom she ministered and worked. She was responsible at Crouse Irving for ministry to patients, families and staff on a medical floor, a pediatric unit and a maternity unit. The chaplain with whom she worked at Crouse Irving Hospital described Sister Antonella as “a very conscientious person with a great deal of sensitivity, empathy and lots of energy. It was a joy to have her with us.”
Sister Antonella had planned her own evening prayer and funeral services. Sister Jeanne Anne pointed out how deeply Sister Antonella internalized and lived the readings for both services, living the Beatitudes to the full. From the Book of Wisdom we heard: “Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide in love.” Sister Antonella surely trusted in God and is now abiding in God's love. She died on July 28, and her funeral Mass was celebrated in the PH chapel by her nephew, Father Francis Matthews, OFM. Burial was in the cemetery on the grounds of the Provincial House.
Contributions in Sister Antonella’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.