In Memory

Sister M. Chrysta Lerhinan, IHM

October 15, 1927 – May 23, 2018

Chrysta Lerhinan, IHM

Sister M. Chrysta Lerhinan, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on October 15, 1927 in Port Washington, NY, and given the name Theresa. She was the daughter of the late John and Delia Sexton Lerhinan. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1945 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1948 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1951.

Sister Chrysta served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Patrick Elementary School in Olyphant, PA, from 1948 to 1949; St. John Elementary School in Susquehanna, PA, from 1949 to 1950; St. Patrick Elementary School in Oneida, NY, from 1950 to 1957; Most Holy Rosary High School in Syracuse, NY, from 1957 to 1958; St. Mary of the Mount High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1958 to 1969; and St. Rosalia High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1969 to 1970. She was a faculty member in the mathematics department at Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1970 to 1982.

Sister Chrysta also served as director of the diocesan spiritual formation program and director of Avila Centre at St. Therese of Avila Centre in Kelowna, BC, from 1982 to 1989. She then served in the following positions in the Diocese of Venice, FL: as a staff member at the Spiritual Renewal Center 1989 to 1992; associate vicar for religious 1992 to 1995; and vicar for religious from 1995 to 2002. She was a spiritual director at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2002 to 2010.

From 2010 until the time of her death, Sister Chrysta was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Marywood College and a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from Villanova University.

She is preceded in death by three brothers, Reverend John, C.Ss.R., Joseph, and Gerard; and three sisters, Mary Connaughton, Margaret Scott, and Agnes Lyons.

She is survived by a nieces and nephews, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Wednesday, May 30, 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 Tuesday, May 29, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 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.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2018 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister M. Chrysta Lerhinan, Funeral May 30, 2018

O Lord, you are the center of my life… I will always keep you in my sight.

These words from the opening hymn at our wake service for Chrysta yesterday capture the true source of her goodness and profound spirituality and define how she lived every day of her life. Her joyful, humble, and welcoming spirit came from her deep inner trust and faith in a God she loved unreservedly and who loved her in the same way. Chrysta lifted us Godward through her goodness while at the same time revealing her own inner peace and beauty. We knew her as a person of vibrant faith and keen intelligence that sparked her life-long love of learning, especially in the study of theology and spirituality. We witnessed her genuine kindness and concern for others, her generosity and deep compassion, her gentle humor and willing availability.

Chrysta was a bearer of God’s love and light wherever she was. She taught in elementary and high schools in Pennsylvania and New York, and also for twelve years as a faculty member in the mathematics department at Marywood College. She travelled to the diocese of Kelowna, B.C. and founded a spiritual renewal center in her parish which offered programs in spirituality and religious education training and enrichment. Her efforts caught the eye of the bishop and she was appointed diocesan spiritual formation director. After ministering in Kelowna for seven years, she next went to the diocese of Venice, FL, to minister at a spiritual renewal center there. After three years, she was appointed associate vicar, then vicar, for religious in the diocese of Venice. In 2002 Chrysta returned to Scranton to minister as spiritual director at our IHM Center for the next eight years. From 2010 until the present she served as a prayer minister here at OLP.

We rejoice in the gift of Chrysta’s life with us. Her trust in God and her great gratitude for all that God and life gave her defined every day of her life. She was always ready with a word or act of kindness or support whenever needed and her generosity was never-ending. Her integrity and unassuming manner drew others to her, and they were blessed to share the depth of her unwavering faith in God. Her capacity to love others was rooted in her love of God, and she shared that love tirelessly and faithfully.

Chrysta will be missed by all of us, but we rejoice that she is now at home with her God and enjoying eternal life with her parents, Delia and John, her sisters, Mary, Margaret, and Agnes, and her brothers, Father John, Joseph, and Gerard, who are now reunited with her as she is welcomed into the joy of eternal life by the God she loved and served so well.

Our prayers are with her nieces and nephews and their families. We pray too for her many friends, the sisters at OLP, especially those who lived with her in 2B, her band members, with whom she celebrated her seventieth jubilee this year, all her IHM sisters, her former students, and the administrators and staff at Our Lady of Peace, and all who knew and loved her. We ask the God of all consolation to comfort us all at this time of loss.

Chrysta chose the booklet covers and all the music and readings for her wake service and her funeral mass. This quote from Pedro Arrupe was on the cover of yesterday’s service:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. . . Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Chrysta taught us the deep meaning of these words by how she lived every day. She inspired us and blessed us. Today she is with her God whom she loved so totally all her life.

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

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