In Memory

Sister Eleanor Kalafut, IHM

October 29, 1934 – May 24, 2016

Eleanor Kalafut, IHM

Sister Eleanor Kalafut, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. St. Stephen) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at the IHM Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on October 29, 1934, in Jessup, PA, and was the daughter of the late Stephen and Anna Holecko Kalafut. She entered the IHM Congregation on October 29, 1952, made temporary profession of her vows on August 3, 1955, and her final profession of vows on August 3, 1958.

Sister Eleanor served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Paul Elementary School in New Bern, NC, from 1955 to 1957; St. John Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1957 to 1958; St. Thomas Elementary School in Providence, RI, from 1958 to 1967; St. Raymond Elementary School in Rockaway, NY, from 1967 to 1978; St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Archbald, PA, in 1979; and St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1979 to 1981.

Sister Eleanor was principal at the following schools: St. Rose Elementary School in Carbondale, PA, from 1981 to 1988, and St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1988 to 1989.

She also served as coordinator for religion at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Archbald, PA, from 1978 to 1979; director of religious education at St. James Parish in Jessup, PA, from 1989 to 1992; and parish minister at St. James Parish in Jessup, PA, from 1992 to 1995.

From 1995 until the time of her death, Sister Eleanor served at LaSalle Academy in Jessup, PA. She was a teacher in junior high from 1995 to 1998, vice-principal from 1998 to 2001, and religion teacher and liturgist from 2001 to 2016.

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

She is preceded in death by two sisters, Rita Terry and Ann Kalafut.

She is survived by two sisters, Marie Rosiak and husband George of Dunmore, PA, and Dolores Turnick and husband John of Binghamton, NY, several nieces and nephews, including the Reverend John Terry of Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Wednesday, June 1, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center on Tuesday, May 31, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Wednesday 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.



Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Eleanor Kalafut, Funeral June 1, 2016

Today we give gratitude for the unique and wonderful life of Eleanor and the ways she shared life with us as sister, aunt, teacher, and friend during her more than sixty-one years of religious life. Her quick smile and twinkling eyes brightened many a
classroom, and her understanding, faith, kindness, and belief in each person’s potential were life-long lessons she modeled for her students every day. As parish minister, religious education director, and liturgist, she brought the gifts of enthusiasm, generosity,
dedication, and joy. Her love of music and song was a special joy to her and she shared her gift of music wherever she was. I have to admit that I’m a little nervous today, because we all know how meticulous Eleanor was about certain things, especially the
liturgy, and I’m sure she’s watching very closely today to make sure we do everything correctly, and somehow, I know she’ll find a way to let us know if we missed something!

To know Eleanor was to know a life dedicated in service to her God and others. She seemed to always be in motion, with a kind of urgency, as if she were on a mission. Yesterday, as we shared some wonderful stories about her many kindnesses, her generosity,
her humor, and her simple goodness, I was struck by the profound impact of a single life lived in service to others. What a lesson Eleanor’s life, far more than her death, is to you, her students, and to all of us. She understood deeply that love of God and love of others is what truly matters in our lives, not great achievements, awards, or titles. She taught us about love every day by her actions: encouraging a student who needed extra help, surprising someone with a little gift to thank her for a kindness received, doing the ironing for her sister, Marie, going down to first lunch every day at LaSalle to help serve the students, running an errand for one of the sisters, and countless other seemingly small, ordinary kindnesses that showed, better than mere words, that they were loved. A favorite quote of mine is from Mother Theresa who said, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know when we die, …God will not ask, ‘How many things have you done in your
life?’; rather God will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’” My prayer for all of us is that we can answer that question as eloquently with our lives as Eleanor did with hers last Tuesday evening.

We remember very specially today Eleanor’s parents, Anna and Stephen, and her sisters, Rita and Ann, with whom she is celebrating a joyous reunion in heaven. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of singing going on there today.

We pray for all of us who are already missing Eleanor and her irreplaceable way: her sisters, Marie, and her husband Gene, and Dolores and her husband John, Mary Lynn and Dave, her niece and nephew, her other family members, her sisters in Queen of Peace
Community and those here at the IHM Center, her Band members, all her many IHM friends, and in particular, the students, staff, faculty, and administrators of LaSalle Academy, all who walked life’s journey with Eleanor and were blessed by her life among us.

Eleanor entered fully into the lives of those she met. Her presence among us encouraged and comforted us. Her compassion for others softened our hearts. Her searching for life’s meaning drew us ever closer to the God in whom she had absolute trust. Her life gave us
memories and lessons too beautiful to forget and a love forever embedded in our hearts.

Marie will now place the scriptures on Eleanor’s casket, for indeed, Eleanor heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it, and received life to the full… the Word now beckons her home.

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