Sister Rita Michael McGraw, CSJ
Sister Rita Michael McGraw, CSJ, 87, died Sunday, August 31, 2014, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 69 years.
Sister Rita Michael, the former Louise Elizabeth McGraw, was born on December 30, 1926 in Syracuse, NY, daughter of the late Edward and Louise Flaherty McGraw. After graduating from St. Anthony of Padua High School, Syracuse, Sister Rita entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, on August 15, 1945 and professed final vows on August 15, 1950. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from The College of Saint Rose and served for 42 years in schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses, including the following: Sacred Heart School, Troy; St. Columba’s School, Schenectady; St. Joseph’s School, Troy; St. Mary’s School, Hoosick Falls; St. Mary’s School, Hudson; St. Mary’s Institute, Amsterdam; St. Patrick’s School, Troy; Blessed Sacrament School, Syracuse; St. Mary’s School, Clinton; St. Peter’s School, Rome; Immaculate Conception School, Schenectady; St. Paul’s School, Norwich; and Our Lady of Solace School, Syracuse. In addition, Sister Rita served the Sisters of St. Joseph as regional superior and as associate director of the Retirement Community at St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
Sister Rita Michael was a vivacious, gracious, fun-loving woman with an unmatched sense of humor and a passion for her faith, her family, her religious community and her friends. Whether she was teaching, visiting the sick or serving in leadership, Sister Rita’s ministry was marked by compassion, respect and warm caring. Blessed with an engaging smile, she was proud of her Irish heritage, and she never lost the lilt of Irish laughter in her soul. Sister Rita delighted in spending time with family and friends, especially dining out for breakfast or enjoying a simple meal of pepperoni pizza and a crème de menthe sundae. Sister Rita Michael’s beauty, grace and zest for life will live forever in our hearts. Without a doubt, she is now resting in the palm of God’s hand.
Sister Rita Michael is survived by her sister-in-law, Elizabeth McGraw of North Syracuse; her nieces and nephews: Charles McGraw, Owen McGraw, Michael McGraw, Mark McGraw, Shirley Maloney, Nancy Snyder, Daniel Blaise, Eileen Lopez, Teresa Myers, Gary Davis, Mary Rose Pratt, Louise Davis and Laurie Davis; many friends; and her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, Sister Rita was predeceased by her brothers, Edward and Francis McGraw; her sisters, Rosemary Blaise, Marjorie McGraw and Shirley Davis; and many friends in the Sisters of Joseph.
Sister Rita Michael’s funeral Liturgy was held on Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. 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 Rita’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.