Obituary

 

Sister M. Sylvia Morgan, IHM

Sister M. Sylvia Morgan, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, July 24, 1964 at the Marian Convent in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on November 13, 1886; and given the name Winifred. She was the daughter of the late William and Ann Williams Morgan of Glyn Neath, Wales. The family immigrated to the United States and settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she converted to Catholicism and took the name Gwendolyn.  She entered the IHM Congregation on August 2, 1907, received the religious habit on July 16, 1908, and made profession of her vows on October 15, 1910.

Sister Sylvia served as a teacher at Marywood Seminary and at St. John High School, Pittston, PA.

A prominent educator and member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order for more than 50 years, Sister M. Sylvia was the former Gwendolyn Morgan.  She was succeeded as president of Marywood College by Sister M. Eugenia, IHM.

The founder of the Roger Bacon Chemical Society in the early years of the college, Sister M. Sylvia also served her order as general councilor.  She also was the chairman of the Science Department at Marywood for a number of years, and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

She earned both her bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees at the College of New Rochelle, and did graduate work at the University of Notre Dame, before earning her master of science degree at Fordham University.  She was awarded her doctor of science degree from the University of California and did post-doctoral work at Columbia University.

Sister Sylvia received a high honor in August, 1957, when she was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists by the national council of the institute.  The fellowships are awarded to "chemists or chemical engineers who have achieved full maturity in the professions as evidenced by their record of outstanding scientific accomplishments or by having attained positions of distinction or responsibility."  Sister Sylvia was serving as chairman of the department of science at the time she received the honor.

She was preceded in death by a brother, William M., and a sister, Margaret Barrett. 

She is survived by a brother, Thomas of Scranton; and several nieces and nephews.  

Funeral services will be held Monday, July 27 from the Marian Convent, with mass at 9:30 a.m. in the convent chapel.  Interment will be in St. Catherine's Cemetery, Moscow.  Friends may call at the Marian Convent on Sunday afternoon or evening.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

The Heritage of IHM Educational Excellence from the IHM Archives


Archival Reflection about our Sister M. Sylvia Morgan:

Sister M. Sylvia was perhaps our best known Sister.  She had an interesting personal history.  Born in Glyn Meath, Wales, she came with her family to Scranton, as a pre-school child names Gwendolyn Morgan.  She was enrolled at Saint Cecilia's Academy.  Here she became known as Winifred Morgan, and at ten years of age was baptized conditionally at Saint Peter's Cathedral.  As the years passed, she had the joy of knowing that every member of her family, including her parents, became edifying Catholics.  Sister Sylvia's professional life was likewise interesting.  It was climaxed by a doctoral degree and by her election as a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists.  As a teacher at Marywood College, she endeared herself to hundreds of Sisters by her competent, selfless service in helping them in the difficult field of science.  She was always ready to offer relaxation by her generosity in presenting amusing and educational films.  Always healthy and happy, she seemed vigorous and untiring.  As general councilor and president of the college, her field of influence broadened.  She was a beloved teacher and a kind friend.

The last few years of Sister's life were shadowed by illness.  She patiently and unmurmuringly left her fields of intense interest, and waited for God's summons to eternal life.  May God abundantly reward our dear Sister Sylvia whom we so much loved and admired.


" Sister M. Sylvia, Educator, Dies Served as President Of Marywood College

Sister Mary Sylvia, a prominent educator here and a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order more than half a century, died this morning at the Marian Convent after a long illness.

She was the former Gwendolyn Morgan.

Sister Sylvia served as president of Marywood College from 1943 to 1949, and was succeeded in that post by Sister M. Eugenia, I.H.M.

She founded the Roger Bacon Chemical Society in the early years of the college.  During her career, she also served her order as general councilor. Sister Sylvia also had been the chairman of the Science Department at Marywood for a number of years.

She was a daughter of the late William and Ann Williams Morgan of Glyn Meath, Wales, and later of this city.  She had been a member of the order 57 years, entering the congregation August 2, 1907.  Sister Sylvia received the habit of the order on July 16, 1908, and pronounced her religious vows October 15, 1910.

She earned both her bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees at the College of New Rochelle, and did graduate work at the University of Notre Dame, before earning her master of science degree at Fordham University.  She was awarded her doctor of science degree from the University of California and did post-doctoral work at Columbia University.

Sister Sylvia received a high honor in August, 1957, when she was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists by the national council of the institute.  The fellowships are awarded to "chemists or chemical engineers who have achieved full maturity in the professions as evidenced by their record of outstanding scientific accomplishments or by having attained positions of distinction or responsibility."  Sister Sylvia was serving as chairman of the department of science at the time she received the honor.

Sister Sylvia also was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Earlier in her religious and professional career she taught at Marywood Seminary and at St. John's High School, Pittston.

Surviving are a brother, William Morgan, (sic) this city; a sister, Mrs. Margaret Barrett, (sic) this city; and several nieces and nephews.  A brother, Thomas Morgan, retired Scranton Transit Co. employee, died Feb. 24, 1960.

The funeral will be Monday from Marian Convent, with mass at 9:30 A.M. in the convent chapel. Interment will be in St. Catherine's Cemetery, Moscow."

above is from the Scranton Times newspaper published July 24, 1964, pg. 3 and 4


Editorial

"SISTER M. SYLVIA

In all walks of life there are they who fruitfully but unobtrusively labor in important work— of these, perhaps none more fruitfully than those to whose charge is committed the awsome (sic) role of instilling and administering the ever-escalating essentials of higher education; and, of these, certainly none more unobtrusively than they who, withdrawn by vow from the plaudits of the public, give of their physical and mental energies from beneath the "habit" worn by the good sisters.

Marywood College is in Scranton.  Hundreds of Mid-Valley, thousands of out-of-state and foreign girls have, during the years of its accreditation, entered its portals and won degrees which have stood them in good stead in their respective lives' callings.  The college is supervised and staffed by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Their success is evident.  Marywood graduates may be found in the professions, in the sciences, in the arts, in education, in business and, most importantly, in the home.

Its achievements are to be measured by the standards of excellence that have ever been the rule of its teachers and its administrators.

The otherwise singular traits of background, scholastic prominence and professional recognition that were Sister Sylvia's, most recently deceased former president of the college, furnish but a sterling example.

Daughter of Welsh immigrants, Sister was a convert to the religion she was later and wholly to embrace.  Her background was both secular and intellectual of brand.  Her later recognition was decidely (sic) non-sectarian in nature.

Born Gwendolyn Morgan, she was a recipient of bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees from the College of New Rochelle, New York.  A member of the August, 1907, band of the congregation of the I.H.M., Sister Sylvia did graduate work at Notre Dame, took a Master's Degree from Fordham, was awarded a Doctor of Science degree from the University of California, and did post-doctorate work at Columbia University.

Nor did she start at the top.  She was appointed (this woman who was to obtain fellowships from the American Institute of Chemists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science) to teaching assignments at both Marywood Seminary and St. John's, Pittston, before undertaking the more arduous positions of Chairman of the Science Department at the college, general councilor of the order's congregation, and president of the college.

Nor, indeed, is this discourse as dispassionate as the mere recitals of her scholastic and professional accomplishments might indicate.  We knew her well.

Whether by her pre-convent schooling and training or not (we don't know; it was a long time ago), she was not unfamiliar with the exigencies of modern business.  She was ever prompt, courteous and knowing— to an unusual degree for one whose heart was so inexorably attached to her God and Maker.

Many was the New York Times we left at her door.  Her taste for it was in keeping with her keen desire to be kept abreast.

Her last illness was longer than was her just due.  Except to one whose life was cast in humility, it was, in kind, one that might have proved embarrassing to one of such intellectual achievement.

Marywood, indeed the entire northeastern Pennsylvania community, is indebted to this Sister Sylvia and to the Sylvian character of the sisters who manage what is now the second largest Women's Catholic College in America."

above is an Editorial from The Olyphant Gazette, published July 31, 1964