In Memory

Sister Agnes Shaw, IHM

October 4, 1932 – October 26, 2020

Sister Agnes Shaw, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. Amator) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, October 26, 2020, at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY.

She was born on October 4, 1932, in Waverly, NY. She was the daughter of the late David and Margaret O’Connor Shaw. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 7, 1950, and made her temporary profession of vows on August 2, 1953, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1956.

Sister Agnes served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Mary Elementary School in Holidaysburg, PA, from 1953 to 1960; Sacred Heart Elementary School in La Plata, MD, from 1960 to 1962; St. Alphonsus Elementary School in New York, NY, from 1962 to 1967; and St. Stephen Elementary School in New York, NY, from 1967 to 1970.

She served as principal at the following schools: St. John Elementary School in Susquehanna, PA, from 1970 to 1975; St. John Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1975 to 1986; and St. Peter of Alcantara Elementary School in Port Washington, NY, from 1986 to 2001.

Sister also served as assistant to the principal at Our Lady of Sorrows-Seton Campus Elementary School in Endicott, NY, in 2001; coordinator of administrative services at Our Lady of Sorrows-Seton Campus Elementary School in Endicott, NY, from 2001 to 2010; and administrative assistant at Seton Catholic at All Saints School in Endicott, NY, from 2010 to 2014.

From 2014 until the time of her death, Sister Agnes served on family ministry to her sister, Margaret, who died on Sunday, one day before Sister Agnes.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree both in elementary education from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by two brothers, David and Joseph; and a sister, Margaret Graboski.

She is survived by nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; and the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Saturday, October 31, at 10:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial for both Sister Agnes and Margaret at the Church of the Epiphany in Sayre, PA. Interment will be at Tioga Point Cemetery, Athens, PA. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus, the funeral mass and graveside service are private.

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.

Combined Vespers Prayer Service:

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2021 issue

Sister Agnes Shaw, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s funeral on Saturday, October 31, 2021:

Family isn’t defined only by last names
or by blood; it’s defined by commitment
and by love. It means showing up…
it means having each other’s backs…
It means choosing to love each other even on
those days when you struggle to like each other…
It means never giving up on each other.

Dave Willis

Commitment… love… showing up… having our backs… never giving up on us: these words so clearly describe the core values by which both Agnes and Margaret lived their lives among us. To know them was to know without a doubt that family was what mattered most to them. These core values, and the goodness and deep faith which were the anchors of their lives, were deeply rooted in their family upbringing and were the way they blessed all who met them. They were givers and sharers and inviters and includers – they thought first of others before themselves and how we all benefitted from their selflessness and their strength! When Margaret needed help six years ago when her husband became ill, there was no doubt that Agnes would immediately ask to go on family ministry to be with her. That bond between them, begun in childhood, lasted even to their deaths only 24 hours apart. I think even God knew better than to keep them separated too long.

When Agnes left home some seventy years ago to enter the IHM congregation, she brought her family values with her. Her gentle but determined spirit, her infinite kindness, compassion, and energy blessed so many wherever she went. Focused on her goal of serving God through service to others, Agnes dedicated herself to the ministry of education and what an incredible impact she made! First as a teacher and then later as an administrator in schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland, she uniquely and lovingly touched the minds and hearts of students, teachers, and parents in each of these places. You would never know this from Agnes, but her congregation file is filled with letters from superintendents to school children, all singing her praises. In one yearly evaluation form, a superintendent wrote the following: “Sister has been an outstanding example of “THE” Catholic school
administrator and is so recognized not only by parents, teachers, and students, but also by the other principals and by school board members as
well.” A few years later another superintendent in a different state wrote, “Her teachers [and I agree] described Sister Agnes as supportive, open, approachable, available, highly organized, compassionate, understanding, very affirming, positive, very hard worker, good listener, deeply spiritual,
and a genuinely good human being.”

These are the same qualities the IHM sisters who lived and ministered with Agnes remember when they think of Agnes. She was a person deeply in love with her God and quite confident in God’s love for her, which she shared unconditionally with all. Her ‘yes’ to God and others was the simple but profound act of belief and trust in God that is the essence of the spiritual journey we are all on. She blessed our congregation in so many wonderful ways and we are grateful to you, her birth family, for sharing her with us.

Today as we gather at this Eucharistic table, we ponder the mystery of a divine love that called Agnes and Margaret home with a suddenness that caught us off guard. Our faith which calls us here assures us that God did not abandon them in death, but called them home to the fullness of a
divine love which surpasses any joy we can ever imagine. The following words honor their place in our hearts forever:

You were home to us. Within the shelter of your
good company, we safely laid our burdens down.
You were healing for us. You listened to all we
had to say and, in so doing, we were
made more whole.

You were a priceless gift for us, one we did not
earn, but one we received with wonder, joy,
and gratitude.

You allowed us to be our true selves.
Because of you, we are more of whom we want to
be. You encouraged us not merely by your words,
but by the example of your life, your strivings,
questionings, and yearnings.

You were our cheerleader, urging us on, coming
to our concerts, plays, activities, rousing us to
stay in the game of life.

You were our ground control, confirming where
we were and where we were headed.
You were our Agnes and Chicky, and you are
forever in our hearts.

Adapted from Melanie Svoboda, SND

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *