In Memory

Sister M. deRicci Baker, IHM

February 9, 1922 – January 6, 2013

deRicci Baker, IHM

Sister M. deRicci Baker, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on February 9, 1922 in Altoona, PA, and given the name Rita. She was the daughter of the late Leo A. and Grace Noel Baker. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1941, made her temporary profession of vows on May 10, 1944, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1947.

Sister deRicci served as a teacher at the following schools: St. John Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1944 to 1945; St. Leo Elementary School in Ashley, PA, from 1946 to1947; St. Mary of the Mt. Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1947 to 1953 and 1968 to1971; St. Mary/St. John School and St. Aloysius Elementary School in Cresson, PA, from 1953 to 1958 and 1961 to 1963; St. Ambrose Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT, from1958 to 1961; St. Joseph Elementary School in Danville, PA, from 1963 to1968; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1971 to1976; St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Bellefonte, PA, from 1978 to 1983; St. Rosalia Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1983 to 1987; and St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1987 to 1989. She was librarian at Cathedral High School in New York, NY, from 1989 to 1990.

Sister served as principal at St. Mary Elementary School in Hollidaysburg, PA, from 1976 to 1977.

Sister deRicci also served as clerk at Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale, PA, from 1990 to 1994; director of religious education at St. Agnes Parish in Forest City, PA, from 1994 to 1995; coordinator of transportation at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 1994 to 1997; and support staff member at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1997 to 2000.

From 2000 until the time of her death, Sister deRicci served as a prayer minister at Cathedral Convent, Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science in education degree from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by six brothers, John, Joseph, Paul, Leo, Melvin, Eugene; and two sisters, Mary Plazek and Janet Baker.

She is survived by a brother, Robert of Cresson, PA; three sisters, Grace Grover of Madison, OH; Margaret Janssen of Tucson, AZ; and Sister M. Gracette Baker, IHM, of Scranton, PA; and nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Friday, January 11, 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 Thursday, January 10, 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 Friday 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, Spring 2013 issue

How can I do justice to Sister deRicci who lived seventy-two years joyfully serving God as an IHM?

I was in fifth grade when Rita entered the IHM Community. At that time, I was really puzzled. Why didn’t she go to Seton Hill? We had the Charity sisters all through grade school and loved them. Even when I came for her reception, I still wondered why. Maybe the twelve hour ride played a part. Seton Hill was closer to home.

A very close friend of mine came with me to visit Rita when she was at St. John’s on Fig Street. We enjoyed being with the sisters. I remember how kind and patient Rita was with the older sisters. Since then, I witnessed her love and concern for everyone. She loved people and was always ready for a party. Of course, there had to be music, and she was ready to dance when the first note was played.

It never seemed to be in God’s plan that we would be in the same geographic area. However, since I moved to the IHM Center, I was able to visit her daily at Our Lady of Peace Residence. She was an example of patience in accepting her illness, and was most grateful for anything done for her.

She never lost her love for teaching. Many times she took her walker and went up and down the hall thinking she was with the boys at St. John’s or St. Mary of the Mount.

I feel certain she is reaping the fruits of the joy, love and kindness she so generously gave to others.

by Sister M. Gracette Baker, IHM

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