In Memory

Sister M. Fidelis Flannery, IHM

July 26, 1923 – June 30, 2017

Fidelis Flannery, IHM

Sister M. Fidelis Flannery, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, June 30, 2017, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on July 26, 1923 in Williamsport, PA, and given the name Kathryn. She was the daughter of the late John and Mary Hennigan Flannery. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 1, 1945, made temporary profession of her vows on August 2, 1947, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1950.

Sister Fidelis served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1947 to 1951; Cathedral Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1951 to 1954; Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1954 to 1956; St. Dominic Elementary School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1956 to 1961; St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1961 to 1966; and Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ, from 1994 to 1997.

Sister served as a principal at the following schools: St. Mary Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1966 to 1970; Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1970 to 1974; St. Mary Elementary School in Manhasset, NY, from 1974 to 1978; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mt. Holly, NJ, from 1978 to 1988; Our Lady of the Lake Elementary School in Verona, NJ, from 1988 to 1989; and Little Flower Elementary School in Bethesda, MD, from 1989 to 1994.

She also served as office assistant at Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore, PA, from 1997 to 2005.

From 2005 until the time of her death, Sister Fidelis served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

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

She was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Ellen Madigan.

She is survived by a brother, John T. of Montoursville, PA; nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Thursday, July 6, 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, July 5, 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 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.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Winter 2017 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Fidelis Flannery, Funeral 7/6/17

Good morning, Everyone. I am happy to welcome Fidelis’ niece, Maureen and her husband, David, who are here with us this morning, as well as the members of her family and her friends who join us via livestream.

I’m very happy to welcome our good friend, Father Don Williams, as our celebrant. Thank you for being here, Don.

I’d like to express our thanks to Sisters Jean, Eleanor Mary, and Mary Kay, the administrators here at Our Lady of Peace, and the OLP staff for their wonderful care and support for Fidelis throughout her time at OLP.

At the wake service for Fidelis yesterday, the following excerpt from Nouwen’s, Life of the Beloved, was read:

The real question before our death, then, is not, how much can

I still accomplish. . . But, how can I live so that I can continue

to be fruitful when I am no longer here among my family and

friends? The question shifts our attention from doing to being.

Our doing brings success, but our being bears fruit.

All who knew Fidelis can attest to the fact that she lived her life fully as an clear answer to Nouwen’s question. As was stated yesterday, she was someone we all could honestly say, “I’d like to be like her.” Her life was a gift to and for others; she did not seek personal attention or gain, but put others first always. When we came into her presence, we were greeted always by a wide smile, twinkling eyes, and a hug and a kiss. Her greatest joy was in seeing to the well-being of others. As we heard in the stories yesterday, Fidelis’ life was a constant example of a person deeply in love with her God and quite confident in God’s love for her, which she shared unconditionally with all. Her ‘yes’ to God and others was the simple but profound act of belief and trust in God that is the essence of the spiritual journey we are all on. For Fidelis, this trust revealed the rock-solid relationship she had with God which was the source of her gentle strength, love, and joy throughout her life. This was a person so in love with her God that she was able to give herself freely and totally in goodness to all. I think it was certainly no mistake that this woman of immense faith and trust went by the name of “Fidelis.”

It was, I’m sure, because of this relationship with God that Fidelis was one of those rare people who refused to take herself too seriously. She could laugh at herself and that wonderful gift of acknowledging her own vulnerabilities allowed us to be ourselves more freely as well. She modeled for us the awesome grace of understanding that it is God, not ourselves, who makes all things possible, who is the center of all life, and she did this simply by who she was. What a valuable lesson!

Fidelis’ joyful spirit blessed those she met with infinite kindness, compassion, and love. Throughout her seventy years as an IHM, her unwavering goal was to serve God through service to others, especially through the ministry of education. As a teacher, principal, and later, an office assistant, in schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, Fidelis uniquely touched the minds and hearts of those she met. Her gentle wit brought a smile or laugh even in difficult times and her example of deep respect, joy, and love for others taught profound values and lessons far more enduring than any textbook or lecture. She brought that same spirit and example when she came to OLP as a prayer minister twelve years ago.

We rejoice in the gift of Fidelis’ life with us. She won our hearts with her kind and joyful presence, openness of heart, mischievous eyes, and wit. Her life was a visible witness to her trust and great gratitude for all that God and life gave her. We indeed were blessed in countless ways by the remarkable life of this special woman and we are forever grateful to God for her presence in our lives.

We pray very specially today in memory of Fidelis’ parents, Mary and John, and her sister, Mary Ellen, who have gone before her and with whom she is celebrating a wonderful reunion in heaven today. We pray today for all those whose lives were touched by Fidelis’ kindness and dedication, especially her brother, John, her niece, Maureen and her husband, Dave, and all her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. We also pray with and for her many IHM friends, especially those who, like herself, celebrate their 70th jubilee this year. We pray for all the sisters here at Our Lady of Peace, and all who knew and loved Fidelis.

Nouwen wrote that “our doing brings success, but our being bears fruit.”

Fidelis’ life and example continue to shine and bear fruit through the lives she touched during her life. The following version of a reading from Proverbs surely describes Fidelis and speaks to the witness she gave and to the values she would want us to carry forward:

She is a valiant woman; her roots are firmly planted.

The kingdom is within; her heart, treasure-filled.

She is a joyful woman for whom laughter is no stranger:

a song to sing, a smile to give, a hand clasp or embrace.

She is a strong woman whose heart and arms withstand the pressures

and the worries that each day unfolds.

She is a patient woman, waiting through storm and night for new life,

new growth, rich harvest.

She is a loving woman, ever giving and forgiving, ever caring

and concerned.

She is a sharing woman who with arms outstretched gives her gifts and

treasures to those both near and far.

Proverbs 31

I now ask her niece, Maureen, to place the scriptures on Fidelis’ 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 her home.

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