Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Mary Catherine Rich, CSJ


Sister Mary Catherine Rich, CSJ (Sister Edmund Paul), 97, died Sunday, October 18, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 75 years.

Sister Mary Catherine was born in Little Falls, NY, daughter of Edmund Paul and Catherine Volk Rich. After graduating from Herkimer High School and The College of Saint Rose, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, on March 19, 1945 and professed final vows on August 15, 1950.

Sister Mary Catherine received a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a second bachelor’s degree in music, both from The College of Saint Rose, and a master’s degree in music from the Catholic University of America. Sister Mary Catherine taught music and piano for 27 years in schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. For another 30 years, she taught piano at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, previous to the founding of Carondelet Music Center (CMC) and later as part of CMC. In 2003, Sister Mary Catherine retired from music education and volunteered at the Provincial House.

Sister Mary Catherine was a humble, gracious woman who generously shared her gifts with her Sisters in Community, her friends and her students. She was a dedicated and patient piano teacher for nearly six decades, and she took great joy in passing on, not only a solid foundation of proper technique, but also a love and appreciation of music as an art form. In addition to her ministry in piano instruction, Sister Mary Catherine served for many years as director of music and liturgy at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, where her vast knowledge, continual updating and extensive experience facilitated the planning and coordination of beautiful liturgical celebrations.

Having grown up in the Mohawk Valley of New York State, Sister Mary Catherine had a special affinity for the Algonquin–Mohawk Native Americans as well as a deep devotion to St. Kateri Tekakwitha who was born near Auriesville. Sister Mary Catherine used her musical talents to compose and publish two hymns for the canonization of St. Kateri by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. Like St. Kateri, Sister Mary Catherine had a deep devotion to Mary and to the Holy Eucharist and a fervent faith that she shared freely and with great joy.

Sister Mary Catherine is survived by her step-nephew, Eric (Ruth) Jahn, and his family; by many cousins and friends; and by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her step-brothers, Eugene and William Hall; and by her step-sister, Lois Oechsle.

Due to the continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Mary Catherine at this time. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date.