Sister Mary Mahar, CSJ, (Sister Cyrilla)
Sister Mary Mahar, CSJ, (Sister Cyrilla), 90, died Sunday, January 20, 2013, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 73 years.
Sister Mary, the former Mary Frances Mahar, was born in Schenectady, NY, on May 14, 1922, daughter of the late Francis and Marie Willey Mahar. After graduating from St. Columba’s High School in Schenectady, Sister Mary entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on March 19, 1940 and professed final vows on August 15, 1945. Sister Mary received a bachelor’s degree in music from The College of Saint Rose and a master’s degree in music from The Catholic University of America.
Sister Mary taught music and piano for nearly 50 years in schools of the Albany Diocese, including Sacred Heart School, Troy; St. Brigid’s School, Watervliet; Catholic Central High School, Troy; and Blessed Sacrament School, Albany. In addition, Sister Mary served as a catechetical teacher at St. Joseph’s Parish, Fort Edward; as a chaplain at Villa Mary Immaculate Nursing Home, Albany; and as a participant in the first House of Prayer at St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
Sister Mary was an accomplished musician and a dedicated teacher of piano who educated hundreds of young pianists and vocalists during her long career. Passionate about helping her students discover their musical potential, she was blessed with a unique ability to address successfully all levels of talent and many diverse learning styles. Sister Mary’s choruses and glee clubs were recognized for their wide range of vocal repertoire from Gregorian chant and sacred works to classical and contemporary pieces. Whether Sister Mary was teaching young students or encouraging the elderly to join a choir, her work was marked by creativity, versatility and excellence. During her 65 years of active ministry, Sister Mary created beauty and shared joy wherever she went. We will miss her presence among us, but we will draw inspiration from what Sister Mary has taught us about faith, friendship and the splendor of music.
Sister Mary is survived by many cousins, with special mention of Bob and Jane Bloom and family of Lee, MA; Sister Charleen Bloom, CSJ, of Albany; David and Helen Fitzgerald and family of St. Paul, MN; and Mary and Steve Nugent and family of Newport, RI; her extended family: Irma, Kay and Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ; many dear friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, including those whom Sister Mary sponsored to enter the community: Sisters Elizabeth Cruger, Constance Messitt, Barbara Sefcik and Anne Bryan Smollin.
Sister Mary’s Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, January 25, in the chapel of St. Joseph's Provincial House, Latham. Interment was in Our Lady Queen of Virgins Cemetery on the Provincial House grounds. Donations in Sister Mary’s name may be made to the Development Office, Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.