In Memory

Sister M. Daniela McCarthy, IHM

January 27, 1921 – May 30, 2022

Daniela McCarthy, IHM

Sister M. Daniela McCarthy, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, May 30, 2022, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on January 27, 1921, in Pittston, PA, and given the name Margaret. She was the daughter of the late John and Catherine Moran McCarthy. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 2, 1940, made her temporary profession of vows on August 2, 1942, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1945.

Sister Daniela served as a teacher at the following schools: Most Holy Rosary Elementary School in Syracuse, NY, from 1942 to 1948; St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1948 to 1952; St. Mary Elementary School in Patton, PA, from 1952 to 1956; St. Thomas Elementary School in Coeur d’Alene, ID, from 1956 to 1960; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, from 1968 to 1969; St. Mary Elementary School in Avoca, PA, in 1974 and 1983 to 1984; St. Ann Elementary School in Devon, CT, from 1974 to 1977; Pocono Central Catholic Jr./Sr. High School in Cresco, PA, from 1977 to 1983; and Seton Catholic High School in Pittston, PA, from 1983 to 1996.

Sister served as a principal at the following schools: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Asbury Park, NJ, from 1960 to 1962; St. Ann Elementary School in Nyack, NY, from 1962 to 1968; and St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Pittston, PA, from 1969 to 1974.

Sister Daniela also served at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, as an instructor at the IHM Educational Enrichment Institute from 1996 to 2004; on the support services staff from 2004 to 2006; and as a sacristan from 2006 to 2008.

From 2008 until the time of her death, Sister Daniela was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

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

She is preceded in death by two brothers, James and Joseph, and a sister, Anna Marie Horbelt.

She is survived by nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; and cousins, including, Sister Ann Marie O’Brien, IHM, of Scranton, PA. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus, the funeral mass and graveside service are private.

Prayer and Funeral Mass 


Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Daniela McCarthy, funeral June 6, 2022

May you see God’s light on the path ahead

when the road you walk is dark.

When times are hard, may hardness

never turn your heart to stone.

May you always remember

when the shadows fall –

You do not walk alone.”

Irish Funeral Prayer

These words from an Irish funeral prayer so aptly describe the one hundred and one years of Daniela’s earthly journey. Her entire life was one of seeking and trusting the loving presence of God in the people and experiences she encountered. Today we celebrate her joyful reunion with the One who heard her call, accompanied her through each day’s ups and downs, and welcomed her home into a loving embrace last Monday.

Daniela walked among us with spunkiness of spirit and graciousness of heart and touched countless lives and hearts, as we heard during the prayer service this morning. Her energy and enthusiasm, her many kindnesses, her love for her students were all hallmarks of this special woman’s life. Of course, we also know that Daniela had a bit of a stubborn streak, too. I lived with her many years ago in Pittston, and experienced more than once Daniela’s arched eyebrow followed by her statement, “I don’t want to tell you what to do, but …” when, for example, I rearranged the chairs or tables in the community room, which was my charge, or was preparing a roast for dinner. But always, I remember, she would follow up later with a word or compliment to let me know I was back in her graces. She was a great mentor for me in community – she modeled respect, generosity, kindness, humility, commitment to prayer, and so many other selfless qualities. Daniela also had a wonderful sense of humor and her laugh was infectious. She really enjoyed a good time – any event was an opportunity for a celebration! Above all else, though, Daniela was a woman of dedication to prayer and spirituality. Her prayer time was the core of her day and her life and her love for others was rooted in her close relationship with her God.

Daniela’s ministry experiences as a teacher and as a principal in schools in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Connecticut, and New Jersey spanned fifty-five years of dedicated service. She thoroughly enjoyed her interaction with her junior high and high school students, especially those at St. John the Evangelist School and Seton Catholic High School in her hometown of Pittston. For Daniela, her lessons went far beyond the classroom walls and her students were a sacred trust. Her quips and eyes that twinkled with delight brightened the day for students, faculty, and staff. Her humor, kindness, encouragement, and affirmation led her students to learn math, for sure, but also some important life lessons and, most importantly, to know God. After leaving the classroom, Daniela came to the IHM Center where she volunteered in the congregation’s EEI program and served as a receptionist and as sacristan. Her spirit exuded an energy and kindness that gave us joy and made our days better.

Daniela’s deep faith and character were nurtured from birth by her parents and she cherished her family connections throughout her life. As we give thanks today for Daniela, we remember her family members who welcomed her into God’s loving embrace last week, especially her parents, Catherine and John, her sister, Anna Marie, and her brothers, James and Joseph. We ask our God of all comfort to support Daniela’s nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, Sister Ann Marie and all her cousins and their families.

We give thanks for all those who have shared life and ministry with Daniela, especially the sisters, administrators, and staff with whom she lived here at Our Lady of Peace these past fourteen years, her many IHM friends, and the many teachers, students, and parents whose lives who were blessed to know her.

I found a poem entitled, “Irish She Is,” which I think is a good fit for Daniela:

Irish She Is

A strange blend of shyness, pride, and conceit,

and stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.

She’s spoiling and ready to argue and fight,

yet the smile of a child fills her soul with delight.

Her eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,

yet her strength is the strongest to banish your fears.

Her disapproval is as fierce as her devotion is grand,

and there’s no middle ground on which she will stand.

She’s proud and she’s humble, and she’s happy and sad. . .

She’s enamored with beauty, wherever it lies.

But mostly she’s Irish, in love with her God.

We are consoled by the sure knowledge that Daniela is once again back in her God’s embrace to enjoy the same love she so generously gave to others through her life. Our wishes and prayers for her today are beautifully expressed by these words of the writer and poet, John O’Donohue,: “May there be a beautiful welcome for you in the home you are going to, because you’re not going to somewhere strange, but you are going back to the home that you never really left.” (John O’Donohue, The Horizon Is In the Well).

I now ask Mary Catherine to place the scriptures on Daniela’s casket, for she heard the Word of God; indeed, she staked her life upon it, and received life to the full … the Word now beckons Daniela home.

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