In Memory

Sister M. Eunice Corcoran, IHM

June 29, 1914 – April 24, 2017

Eunice Corcoran, IHM

Sister M. Eunice Corcoran, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, April 24, 2017, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on June 29, 1914, in Archbald, PA and given the name Clare. She was the daughter of the late James A. and Margaret Norton Corcoran. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1931, made her temporary profession of vows on April 24, 1934, and her final profession of vows on August 1, 1937.

Sister Eunice served as a principal at the following schools: St. Clare Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1954 to 1962; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1962 to 1968; Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Clarks Green, PA, from 1968 to 1976; and St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, from 1976 to 1980.

Sister served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Paul Elementary School in Cranston, RI, from 1934 to 1941; St. Paul Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1941 to 1952; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Asbury Park, NJ, from 1980 to 1988; and Little Flower Elementary School in Bethesda, MD, from 1988 to 1991. She also served as an instructor at the IHM Educational Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 1991 to 2000.

On the occasion of her 100th birthday celebration, Sister Eunice was surprised to receive a call from Vice-President Joseph Biden, whom she had taught at St. Paul School in Scranton. Vice-President Biden called Sister Eunice to offer his congratulations on this milestone.

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

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

She is preceded in death by a brother, Joseph E.

She is survived by a niece and three nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; great grandnieces and great grandnephews; and the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Friday, April 28, 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, April 27, 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 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, Winter 2017 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister M. Eunice Corcoran, Funeral 4/28/17

Good morning,

As we gather this morning to celebrate the wonderful gift of the life of Sister Eunice, I want to welcome very specially her niece, Nancy, and Nancy’s husband, Jim, her nephew, Jack, and members of her family and friends who are able to join us via live stream.

I want to take a moment to thank Father Kilpatrick, our celebrant this morning and a wonderful friend to all of us at the IHM Center and OLP.

We want to thank in a special way, Sisters Jean, Eleanor Mary, and Mary Kay, the administrators of Our Lady of Peace, and the wonderful staff here for the marvelous care and support Eunice received every day.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Alan W. Watts

For one hundred and two (almost three) years, Eunice faithfully ‘joined the dance’ and served on this earth before returning to her eternal home with the God who loved and strengthened her throughout her life. Our hearts are full of gratitude for her presence among us. In reflecting on Eunice’s long and blessed life, there is no doubt that she did indeed ‘move with (change), and join, if not lead, the dance.’ I began to think about what she must have witnessed during those many years of life. She saw and experienced a lot of good and a lot of bad. For example:

  • This is a woman born when Woodrow Wilson was President. She was born in 1914, the same year as Jonas Salk, the same year World
    War I started.
  • She lived through World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, the war in Iraq.
  • Most of us have read about the first Nobel Prize going to Albert Einstein, the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the Hindenburg, the first talkie movie, The Jazz Singer, hitting the big screen, Lindberg’s crossing of the Atlantic, and Pearl Harbor – but Eunice was alive for all of it.
  • She was 47 when the Berlin Wall was built and 75 when it came down.
  • She was 51 when Vatican II closed.
  • She was born before these cultural mainstays were invented: the pop-up toaster, the blender, sunglasses, deodorant, bubble gum, the Internet, cell phones, and even Chocolate Chip cookies.

I think it is safe to say that Eunice saw a great deal of change, not just in the world, but also personally and professionally. She adapted to some of the most challenging changes we have ever known, and she did it with faith, determination, and a trust in God that did not waver. In completing a 1973 congregation form for her ministry plans, Eunice wrote, “I derive great satisfaction form my work (of administration, supervision, and occasional substitute teaching for absent teachers), and am deeply interested in keeping abreast of current trends.” She was requesting to attend workshops for education and theology because, as she wrote, “We strive to develop the educational skills and creativity of each child, thus leading him/her to realize his/her God-given potential. We further strive to build a conscious awareness of the dignity and value of each person.”

Throughout her more than eighty-three years of religious life, Eunice lived out her values even as she witnessed more changes. She ministered as a teacher and principal in schools in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. Here is a little known piece of history I found out this morning: Eunice was teaching at St. Paul’s school here in Scranton when the pastor, Monsignor Vaughan, opened the new school on North Washington Avenue. Monsignor wanted Eunice as the first principal of this school, which he named St. Clare’s, after, when trying to come up with a good name for the school, he discovered that Eunice’s birth name was Clare. Talk about her influence!

After leaving school, Eunice taught at our IHM Educational Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center for several years. From 2000 on, Sister she served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and then here at Our Lady of Peace. Yes, I did the math, and discovered that Eunice spent 30,295 days in ministry as an IHM sister! That’s an incredible number, but the amount of care, joy, and love she gave to all the students and people whose lives she touched: priceless!

We rejoice in the gift of Eunice’s life with us. She blessed us with her kindness, perseverance, humor, and trust in God and her love for her family, her friends, her IHM Congregation, and the students to whom she ministered. She treasured her students and they treasured her. Many contacted her through the years, including, as was mentioned yesterday at the wake service, her favorite, Vice-President Joe Biden, who called Eunice on the occasion of her 100th birthday. He is forever known in IHM lore as “Bye, bye, Biden” after Eunice coined that phrase when as her young 1st grade student, he would start to fall asleep in her class after lunchtime some days.

Eunice 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 Margaret and James, her brother, Joseph, her nephew, Jimmy, her great-nephew, Liam, and her sister-in-law, Ann Mae, all who are now reunited with her and welcomed her into the joy of eternal life with the God she loved and served so well.

Our prayers are with her niece, Nancy and her husband, Jim, her nephew, Jack, and all her family members and friends, her many IHM friends, the staff and sisters here at Our Lady of Peace, and all those who knew her. We ask the God of all consolation to comfort them at this time of loss.

As I mentioned yesterday, the name, ‘Eunice’, is Greek in origin and the two syllables taken together mean “good victory.” How appropriate that we gather to celebrate the life of Sister Eunice in this Easter season, when we celebrate the greatest victory of all – Christ’s triumph over death. Coincidentally, Eunice professed her first, or temporary, vows on April 24, 1934. On this past Monday, April 24, 2017, exactly eighty-three years later, she celebrated her eternal vows when she returned home to her God to share fully in that resurrection victory.

Nancy will now place the scriptures on Eunice’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 Eunice home.

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