In Memory

Sister M. Carlita Bird, IHM

March 20, 1941 – August 8, 2023

Sister M. Carlita Bird, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on March 20, 1941, in Scranton, PA, and given the name Mary Greta. She was the daughter of the late Carl Patrick and Mary Catherine Collins Bird. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1958, and made her temporary profession of vows on March 11, 1961, and her final profession of vows on March 11, 1966. Sister Carlita received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and a Master of Science degree in education/English, both from Marywood College.

Sister Carlita served as a teacher in the following schools: All Saints Elementary School in Masontown, PA, in 1961; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1961 to 1962; St. Mary of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Dunmore, PA, from 1962 to 1967 and 1984 to 1996; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1967 to 1970; St. Mary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1970 to 1973; Nativity of Our Lord Elementary/Marian Catholic School in Scranton, PA, from 1996 to 2011; and All Saints Academy in Scranton, PA, from 2011 to 2017.

Sister served as principal at St. Ann Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1973 to 1974; St. Leo Elementary School in Ashley, PA, from 1974 to 1980; and Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School in Forty Fort, PA, from 1980 to 1984.

From 2018 until the time of her death, Sister Carlita was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was preceded in death by four brothers, Dr. Thomas J., Dr. Joseph F., Carl P., Jr., and Francis A.; a sister, Margaret Mary; and two aunts, Sister M. Clarencia Bird, IHM, and Sister M. Greta Collins, IHM.

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

The funeral will be Monday, August 14, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, August 14, between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. A prayer service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow Mass on Monday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Prayer of Remembrance and Funeral Mass


Reflection given by Sister Katie Clauss, IHM Congregation President

Carlita entered the congregation in 1958 and joined her paternal aunt, Sister Clarencia Bird who entered in 1926, and her maternal aunt, Greta Collins, who entered in 1936. These three women through their lives as IHM sisters and their roles as teacher and
principal helped to inform, inspire, and engender in their students a sense of God’s love for them and God’s desire for them to share that love with those they met. What a lasting legacy of 211 years of service the Bird and Collins families shared through the IHM Congregation with the hundreds, perhaps thousands of women, children and men
whose lives were transformed as they engaged with Carlita, Greta and Clarencia.

It is safe to say that Carlita loved you, her family, deeply. Over the years I had many
opportunites to be in conversation with her about her father, Carl and her mother, Mary Collins Bird, Aunt Rose, and her nieces and nephews. How deeply Carlita loved all of you. She spoke of you with great tenderness and gratitude. I was with Mary Lourdes and her husband, Phil recently when they were visiting Carlita. There was a moment when Mary Lourdes said her name and told her how much she loved her. Carlita opened her eyes, she looked at Mary Lourdes and smiled. It was Carlita’s call, her rootedness in God and God’s love and your love and support that graced
her with the ability to bring God’s unconditional love to her family and those she encountered in her ministry of education and her life as an IHM sister.

It is our practice during the wake service to place into the sister’s hand the card that the sister signed at the time of her profession. I would like to share with you the statement that Carlita signed on her day of profession in 1961, 62 years ago:

Most loving, omnipotent and eternal God, I, Sister Carlita Bird who, though unworthy,
am about to be numbered among the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, have an ardent
desire of consecrating my entire affections to Thy holy love, and of serving Thee with all my senses and faculties, in imitation of Your divine Son, Jesus Christ.

After serious reflection and fervent prayer, prostrate before Thy divine Majesty and in
the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the celestial court, I make the simple vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience into the hands of Reverend Mother General, for all my life, according to the Constitutions of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When Carlita was professed, she promised to commit herself through her vow of chastity to give herself totally, unreservedly, and perpetually to Jesus Christ as her primary relationship. This vow compelled her to become radically available to others in loving, mutual relationships and to live out her life for the sake of the Reign of God.*

In promising to live the vow of evangelical poverty, Carlita was committed to simplicity
of lifestyle rooted in mutual sustainability and in interdependent sharing of the goods
of the congregation with respect for justice and co-responsibility. Her dedication of time, resources and talents were shared to further the congregation’s mission of service and love, and for the benefits of others, especially for those who were marginalized.*

By the vow of prophetic obedience, Carlita was inspired by the example of Jesus who lived his life responding to the Father’s will. Through prayer, dialogue, and discernment, Carlita sought fidelity to the will of God for the building of the Reign of God through reflective, responsible listening and discernment in the decision-making processes of the congregation and by participating in our search for prophetic ways to live our vowed life.*

Our Sister Carlita desired to be in the midst of our world, sharing her giftedness and
vulnerability in solidarity with persons who are poor in any way and with all of creation. In this context she heard the word of God and staked her life on it. It is the word of God who now beckons her home.

* IHM Constitutions

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