Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 10, 2021

In Remembrance

Sister Maria Mercurio, CSJ

Sister Maria Mercurio, CSJ (Sister Maria Francis), 96, died Sunday, December 20, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, NY, one day short of her 97th birthday. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 73 years.

Sister Maria, baptized Clementine Gloria Mercurio, was born in Amsterdam, NY, on December 21, 1923, daughter of the late Frank and Jennie DeStefano Mercurio. After graduating from Wilbur H. Lynch Sr. High School, she worked as a stenographer for L.M. Fowler Insurance Company in Schenectady and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Amsterdam. On August 15, 1947, Sister Maria entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, and professed final vows on August 15, 1952.

Sister Maria received a bachelor’s degree in English from The College of Saint Rose and a master’s degree in religious education from LaSalle College in Philadelphia. Sister Maria began her ministry as a teacher in schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. In 1970, she began her “second career” in religious education and worked in that field until her retirement in 2010. For 40 years, she served at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, initially as a CYO staff member and as a religious-education teacher for adults, and later as director of religious education for the parish.

Sister Maria was a very prayerful, community-minded and ministry-focused woman. While she enjoyed teaching, it was in the field of religious education that she found the most joy. In the parish, she lectored and taught religious education classes weekly and greeted parishioners as they came into church. Because the Cathedral is a historic landmark in New York State, the building receives many travelers each year. Sister Maria was the perfect person to greet the visitors. She was knowledgeable, hospitable, quick-witted and charming—and all this with more than a touch of class!

Sister Maria had an eclectic range of interests. She loved spending time in her garden, a good plot of land outside the convent where she tended to her peppers and tomatoes. Those peppers and tomatoes then found their way into creative dishes, Sister Maria’s delicious expression of her own love language. She also enjoyed reading a wide variety of genre from spiritual themes to historical fiction to mysteries to current events. She was also a Scrabble enthusiast who could break into a joyful dance spontaneously or recite poetry on demand!

Sister Maria loved God and lived her faith with grace and gratitude, and she loved life and lived it with passion, kindness, warmth and love. Sister Maria lived fully and with purpose, and she leaves us a legacy of embracing life’s journey with a joyful, generous spirit. We will miss her dearly.

Sister Maria is survived by her sister, Jeanne Donlon; her nieces, Karen Hastings and Marie Jankowski; her nephews, Tom, Dave, Mike and Jim Hastings; several grandnephews and grandnieces; many friends; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, with special mention of the Sisters who lived with Sister Maria for many years at the former Cathedral Convent. In addition to her parents, Sister Maria was predeceased by her sister, Marie Hastings, and her lifelong friend, Sister Rose Margaret Noonan, CSJ.

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