In Memory

Sister M. deSales Williams, IHM

May 10, 1926 – January 17, 2008

deSales Williams, IHM

“I make sure that my spiritual life comes first. I encourage children and teachers to keep Jesus close to them and have a personal relationship with Him. I believe these prayers should have a definite impact in the world.” – October 2002

Sister M. deSales Williams, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on May 10, 1926 in Dunmore, PA; and given the name Mary. She was the daughter of the late John R. and Loretta Walsh Williams. She entered the IHM Congregation on July 2, 1943 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1946 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1949.

Sister deSales served as a teacher at the following schools: Sacred Heart Elementary School in La Plata, MD, from 1946 to 1952; St. Mary Elementary School in Hollidaysburg, PA, from 1952 to 1955; St. Matthew Elementary School in Wilmington, DE, from 1955 to 1956; St. Peter of Alcantara Elementary School in Port Washington, NY, from 1956 to 1962; St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Archbald, PA, from 1976 to 1978; Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School in Forty Fort, PA, from 1979 to 1980; St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1980 to 1987; and at Nativity of Our Lord Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1987 to 1993.

Sister served as principal of the following schools: St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1962 to 1966; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1966 to 1967; Sacred Heart of Mary Elementary School in Jermyn, PA, from 1967 to 1973; St. Matthew Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1973 to 1976; and at St. Joseph Elementary School in Williamsport, PA, from 1993 to 2003.

She also served as the Liturgy Coordinator for School Liturgies at Marian Catholic Interparochial School in Scranton, PA, from 2003 to 2007.

From 2007 until the time of her death, Sister deSales served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

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

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Donald J. and John R.; and two sisters, Ruth Loretta Breznikar and Ann E. Biglin.

She is survived by a sister, Bernice Williams Murray of Scranton; sister-in-law, Kieran Williams of Dunmore; brother-in-law, Anton Breznikar of Scranton; brother-in-law, James Biglin of Scranton; and many nieces and nephews.

For those planning to attend the funeral, it will be Wednesday, January 23, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will be at St. Catherine Cemetery, Moscow. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue on Tuesday, January 22, between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

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 2008 issue

Make yourself familiar
with the Angels
And behold them frequently in spirit;
For without being seen,
They are present with you.
-St. Francis de Sales

During Sister deSales sixty-two years of religious life, she touched the hearts and lives of so many. Sister deSales loved being an IHM Sister and teacher.

Many people have shared stories and experiences of being a student, teacher, or friend with Sister deSales. She was a wonderful person with a joyful spirit in the classroom, teaching the children the Irish jig, square dancing, patriotic music, Godspell, liturgical music, and gestures to accompany them, as well as working closely with many sisters, faculties, and staff.

How blessed was I to grow up in an environment that truly fostered my vocation. Sister deSales, Aunt Mary, was a great example of joyful, loving service. Her spirit and energy were really contagious and I loved her dearly.

Aunt Mary brought so much joy into our homes and our hearts. Whenever possible, Aunt Mary was there when we received the Sacraments, played in recitals, marched in bands, played sports and graduated, singing and dancing. Aunt Mary loved to send cards for our birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions and with our large family, that was a full-time ministry in itself.

When Aunt Mary came to visit each family, she brought gifts that had been given to her which she never opened, so she could give to us, her twenty-seven nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews. Aunt Mary taught us how to trust in God completely and to give away whatever possessions we had for someone else in need. Her love for our Blessed Mother and beautiful prayer while singing the Ave Maria will be cherished in our hearts forever.

Whether in community or choir, at a profession or ordination, the classroom or office, basketball games or Camp St. Andrew, in the parish visiting the sick or burying the dead, Aunt Mary’s beautiful smile and joyful presence will remain with us always.

Thank you, Aunt Mary, for showing us how to live joyfully and die humbly, accepting sickness and death in God’s time, not ours. “As we make ourselves familiar with the angels, we behold your spirit frequently in our heart, Aunt Mary. For without being seen, we know that you are present.”

by Sr. Kieran Williams, IHM

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