Sister Rita Beck, CSJ (Sister Joseph Michaella)
Sister Rita Beck, CSJ (Sister Joseph Michaella), 96, died Friday, August 16, 2013, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Sister Rita had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 79 years.
Rita Rose Beck was born on October 1, 1916 in Albany, NY, daughter of the late Michael C. and Katherine Morrissey Beck. She graduated from Cathedral Academy, Albany, entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, on March 19, 1934, and professed final vows on August 15, 1939. Sister Rita graduated from The College of Saint Rose, Albany, and St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing, Amsterdam; in addition, she pursued post-graduate nursing studies at New York University and Spanish at the Maryknoll Language School in Cochabamba, Bolivia. For the first 15 years of her life as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Rita taught in elementary schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. In 1948, she began a 50-year career of service in the healthcare field. For 40 years, Sister Rita ministered at St. Mary’s Hospital (St. Mary’s Healthcare), Amsterdam, as registered nurse, head nurse and supervisor in the operating room and in the coronary intensive-care unit, and later, as a volunteer in various capacities. From 1966-1970, Sister Rita was a registered nurse at the Hospital Militar in Lima, Peru. In addition, she was an operating-room supervisor at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Augusta, Georgia, and supervisor of the infirmary at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham.
Sister Rita’s life was defined by her four loves: God, family, the Sisters of St. Joseph and service to the sick. Faithful to prayer, Sister Rita spent time each day remembering the intentions of her colleagues, friends and loved ones. Devoted to her family, she took pride in the Beck/Morrissey heritage and deeply treasured each family member. A Sister of St. Joseph to the core of her being, Sister Rita was a living witness of the Sisters’ call to bring God’s unifying love to all whom they meet. In her service to the sick, Sister Rita brought both her medical expertise and the healing presence of Jesus to those in need. Sister Rita leaves us an enduring legacy of the value of common sense, hard work, dedication and compassion.
Sister Rita is survived by her beloved sister, Gabriel (Gay) Burkart of Rensselaer; several dear nieces and nephews and their families; many friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, Sister Rita was predeceased by her brother, Michael Beck; by her sister, Aileen Merkle; and by many cherished friends in the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Sister Rita’s funeral Liturgy wascelebrated on Wednesday, August 21, at 10:30 a.m. in 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 Rita’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.