In Memory

Sister Bernadette Marie Zaytoun, IHM

April 21, 1946 – April 18, 2014

Bernadette Zaytoun, IHM

Sister Bernadette Marie Zaytoun, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. Ann Michael) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, April 18, 2014 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on April 21, 1946 in New Bern, NC. She was the daughter of the late Louis and Evelyn Sallasty Zaytoun. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 9, 1967 and made her temporary profession of vows on June 20, 1970 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1976.

Sister Bernadette Marie served as a teacher in the following schools: Wyoming Area Catholic Elementary School in Exeter, PA, from 1973 to 1975; St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1975 to 1976; Our Lady of Grace Montessori School in Manhasset, NY, from 1977 to 1979 and 1989 to 1990; Star of the Sea School in Indian Head, MD, from 1979 to 1984; and St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1984 to 1989.

She also served as assistant dietician at IHM Generalate in Scranton, PA, from 1976 to 1977; director of food services at Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1990 to 2006; director of food services at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA, from 2006 to 2007; after school care aide at St. Paul Elementary School in New Bern, NC, from 2007 to 2008; family ministry in New Bern, NC, from 2007 to 2010; and director of the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2011 to 2013.

From 2013 until the time of her death, Sister Bernadette Marie served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education/Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by a sister, Antoinette Craft.

She is survived by a brother, Louis, Jr. of Dayton, OH; and two sisters, Marie Wise of New Bern, NC; and Louise Cranford of Newport, NC; and nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, April 21, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Tuesday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

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.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2014 issue

Bunny (Sister Ann Michael) was a woman whose presence was quiet and attentive. Each professional job or ministry she had strengthened those wonderful qualities. Before joining the congregation, Bunny was a beautician. After she entered, many sisters and friends entrusted their heads to her and enjoyed a caring trim, perm, a bit of color and a smile as they looked into the mirror. Her service included a “new do” and a good “listening to.”

Numerous school communities benefited from Bunny’s skills as a pre-school and first grade teacher. She had a wonderful ability to meet and educate children where they were and as they were. Over time she transitioned from providing a firm and nurturing foundation for children to providing sustaining and nourishing meals for our sisters at the IHM Center, the Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence. Following her food service experience, Bunny spent four years in family ministry caring for her mother and returned to ministry as the administrator of the IHM Center after a sabbatical experience. Each ministry called forth something new in her, to which she responded wholeheartedly.

Bunny created a quiet space around her and had the ability to draw you in in a way that was simple and inviting. She did not just meet you in that space, she received you and allowed you to settle in for a while as she attended to you. I believe that Bunny listened many of us into understanding ourselves and our situations more clearly.

During our friendship of forty years, Bunny taught me many lessons. The one that I continue to hold dear is that of the importance of living in the present moment with hope and gratitude.

She had the ability to take each day and receive it as it was. She did not waste time worrying about what might happen in the future, for she believed that God would provide for today and then do it again tomorrow. Bunny’s faith carried her through difficult times during her illness and galvanized her determination.

Over her sixty-eight years, Bunny’s joys and sorrows, her compassion and generosity, her straightforward honesty and her tangible goodness boiled her down to a “fine broth” that nourished many of us. The broth of her life was and will continue to be a banquet for her family, friends and sisters as we hold her close to our hearts and remember what her love was like and as we experience her resurrected love for all of us.

by Sister Katie Clauss, IHM
IHM Congregation Vice-President and Councilor for Mission and Ministry

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