In Memory

Sister M. Eamon O’Neill, IHM

February 26, 1929 – November 16, 2015

Eamon O'Neill, IHM

Sister M. Eamon O’Neill, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, November 16, 2015, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on February 26, 1929, in Syracuse, NY and given the name Margaret Loretta. She was the daughter of the late Edward and Loretta Cassidy O’Neill and the stepdaughter of the late Elizabeth Dermody O’Neill whom she regarded as mother since the age of two. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1946, and made her temporary profession of vows on May 9, 1949, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1952.

Sister Eamon served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Ann’s Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1949 to 1950; St. Mary’s Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1950 to 1954; Mother of Mercy Elementary School in Washington, NC, from 1954 to 1961; Central Catholic High School in Portland, OR, from 1961 to1966; and Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore, PA, from 1996 to 1997.

Sister Eamon served as the assistant supervisor reading consultant for the Wilmington Diocesan offices in Wilmington, DE, from 1966 to 1970. She served at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, from 1972 to 1988 as graduate dean; from 1988 to 1994 as director of Act 101 and as a teacher with the Off Campus Program; and as Pennsylvania Education Certification officer from 1997 to 2004. Sister was principal at Most Holy Rosary Elementary School in Syracuse, NY, from 1994 to 1996. She also served on the support staff at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 2004 to 2006.

Sister was moderator of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Guild in the Diocese of Scranton from 1990 to 1994.

From 2006 until the time of her death, Sister Eamon was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a bachelor of science degree in education/English from Marywood College, a master of arts degree in education/English from Villanova University, a master of science degree in education/reading from the University of Delaware, and doctor of education degree from Columbia University.

She was preceded in death by a brother, William; and a sister, Mary Leona Purcell.

She is survived by nieces, nephews, and cousins in the United States and Northern Ireland; and members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Thursday, November 19, 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 Wednesday, November 18, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Thursday 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.



Reflections given by Sister Katie Clauss, IHM Congregation Vice-President and Councilor for Missioning and Community Life

Sister M. Eamon O’Neill, Wake 11/18/15

As we gather this afternoon to celebrate the life of Sister Eamon, I would like to welcome members of Sister’s family:

and to welcome each of you and those who are joining us online. Cead Mile Failte( kaid milla faulta) a Gaelic greeting meaning one hundred thousand welcomes.

A celebration of Sister Eamon’s life would be incomplete without recalling her great pride in her Irish heritage and all the ways that influenced her charm, hospitality, and her ever ready welcoming smile. I believe that Sister’s great Irish smile is in full form now as she, with her father, Edward, her birth mother, Loretta, her second mother, Elizabeth, her sister Leona and brother William and her dear friend, Sister Gilmary Speirs are reunited and now encircle us with their love.

For 66 years Sister Eamon lived her IHM commitment to vowed life with integrity and fidelity to God, her family, the Congregation, and those to whom and with whom she ministered. Her deep commitment to mission and the fostering and protection of life was evident throughout her ministerial life as a teacher, administrator and prayer minister.

The domestic church of the O’Neill family and the parish and school communities of Most Holy Rosary parish in Syracuse nurtured in Sister Eamon a mind, heart and spirit that destined her to become the capable, compassionate and professional educational minister that she was. Sister’s life was a continuous outpouring of love as a teacher of elementary, high school and college students in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, North Carolina and Oregon. As an administrator she served as the principal of Most Holy Rosary School, her alma mater, as an Assistant Superintendent in the Diocese of Wilmington, DE, and as the Dean of the Graduate School and later as the Director of the ACT 101 program at Marywood College.

Sister Eamon’s vision of education was not limited to the traditional nine month educational paradigm. Her great passion for outreach to students on the margin motivated her to explore an alternate approach to serving students with special needs in reading and math. In response to her desire to assist students and in collaboration with Marywood College and the IHM Sisters, Sister developed and administered the Raisin River Project, a summer program that provided tutorial services for students from 1985 through 1991 on the Marywood campus. Over those six years several hundred students were taught by loving sisters who empowered them to return to their classrooms in the fall with stronger academic skills and a deeper respect for themselves as persons.

And so today we thank our gracious God for the gift of our Sister Eamon.

I would also like to thank the adminstrators at Our Lady of Peace: Sisters Jean Coughlin, Eleanor Marcony, Mary Kay Faleskie and all of the Staff at OLP who loved and cared for Sister Eamon during her years as a resident.

Gracious and loving God, we give you thanks for the life of our Sister Eamon, a woman who modeled “love in action” as she furthered the teaching Mission of Jesus. Sister’s life was a continuous outpouring of compassion and service to elementary, high school and college students in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, North Carolina and Oregon. In her ministries, Sister Eamon lead students to You, God, and she encouraged students to discover and to reach their full potential.

As we remember Sister Eamon, we pray for her family members who loved and supported her and who now welcome her home: her father, Edward; her birth mother, Loretta, and Elizabeth who raised Sr. Eamon after Loretta’s death; her sister, Leona and brother, William. In faith we believe that they are joined anew in God’s heart. Now together they bring to God the needs and concerns of her dear family, friends, IHM Sisters and colleagues who journeyed with Sister Eamon during her life. As she loved each of you in this life, she will continue to care for you as she enjoys her new life in and with God.

We thank you, loving God, for the life of Sister Eamon. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

Sister M. Eamon O’Neill, Funeral 11/19/15

This morning as we celebrate our Sister Eamon we are blessed by the gathering of the families who gave meaning to Sister’s life – her O’Neill family, her Marywood family, and her IHM. We welcome Sister’s nieces Mary and her husband Ron Schlie; Lori and her husband Art Scudo; her nephews Matthew and Eddie Purcell, her very close and sister-like cousin Genny O’Neill, and cousins who join us online from Northern Ireland. We welcome our colleagues in Mission from Marywood University who serve as an honor guard for sister today. We welcome all IHM sisters and friends who join us here and online. Thank you for your presence among us. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sisters Jean, Mary Kay, Eleanor Mary and the Staff at Our Lady of Peace Residence for their compassionate care of Sister Eamon.

Yesterday before the wake service I asked Sister Eamon’s niece Mary how Eamon referred to herself, thinking she would say EEMON, EEMEN, Amon. Her response was wonderful. Mary indicated that Eamon referred to herself as HERSELF, a wonderful Irish form of self-referral. Sr. Eamon’s Irish heritage was a very important part of her life and a way of being that was nurtured in her family.

As we remember Sister Eamon’s great Irish family and extended family here and in Ireland, we pray in a special way for those who loved and supported her and who now welcome her home: her father, Edward, her mothers, Loretta and Elizabeth, her sister, Leona and brother, William and we remember Sister Eamon’s dear friend Sister Gilmary Speirs.

Throughout her life, God’s Word focused Sister Eamon as a woman in mission. She had a great desire to assist children and adults in the development of their ability to read and to understand the printed word. This was evident in her work with elementary, high school and college level students and her volunteer work in the SCOLA program. She knew that once individuals could break open and understand what they read, they could have confidence and independence as learners and work toward realizing their human potential. Empowerment of students and adults was central to Sister’s role as a teacher, as the principal of her alma mater, Most Holy Rosary School in Syracuse, as an Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Wilmington, DE, as the Director of the Raisin River Project, a collaborate endeavor in the late 1980’s with Marywood College and IHM Sisters to provide tutorial services for elementary level students, and in her service as the Dean of the Graduate School and later the Director of the ACT 101 program at Marywood College. Sister was a woman focused on furthering the teaching MIssion of Jesus and journeying with people toward the light of new understanding.

In the stories that were shared yesterday during the wake service we discovered that Sister Eamon was also a woman with a Mission, especially when it came to travelling with her IHM Sisters. She loved to drive and when she got behind the wheel she was good to go the distance regardless of the length of the trip. When she got into the car she loved the company of her sisters and created outings for them to enjoy. When on a mission, she never travelled the same route. She had a full complement of alternate ways to get where she was going. Sisters who travelled with her now benefit from knowing a variety of ways to get around Scranton. Travel for Sister Eamon seemed to be more about the joy of the journey than it was the destination.

Sister Eamon’s life was a journey with God and with those who were part of her life in family, community, and in mission. Her life was a journey whose map was the word of God and whose final destination was the heart of God and we know that she has arrived.

Sister Eamon’s neice will now place the scripture on Sister’s casket; it is opened to Psalm 119. These are words that Sister Eamon not only prayed but lived throughout her life:

With all my heart I seek You, God.

Your word is imprinted upon my heart that I may walk in Your Light….

Strengthen me according to your Word,

lead me gently into the Light

for I have chosen the way of faithfulness,

with trust in You.

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