In Memory

Sister M. Immaculata Gillespie, IHM

November 26, 1864 – October 24, 1947

Sister M. Immaculata Gillespie, IHM, A.M., Ph.D., of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, October 24, 1947 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

She was born on November 26, 1864 in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, and given the name Catherine. She was the daughter of the late Patrick and Bridget O’Boyle Gillespie. She entered the IHM Congregation on June 7, 1889, received the religious habit on October 3, 1899, and made profession of her vows on August 2, 1891.

Sister Immaculata served as a teacher at St. Cecilia Academy and Marywood Seminary, both located in Scranton, PA.

Sister Immaculata was a one of the founders of Marywood College in Scranton, PA, and served as the first dean of the school, from 1915 to 1943. In 1954, a residence hall was renamed “Immaculata Hall” in her honor. Immaculata Hall currently houses the president’s office, administrative offices, and the following departments: foreign languages, philosophy, and religious studies.

Sister Immaculata also wrote a book about the IHM Congregation entitled “The Sisters of the I.H.M.: The Story of The Founding of The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Their Work In The Scranton Diocesewhich was printed by P.J. Kenedy & Sons in 1921.

Sister Immaculata received a Ph.D from Fordham University.

From 1943 until the time of her death, Sister Immaculata served as a Congregation historian, writing down many of her remembrances about the Congregation as a whole and authoring the book entitled, “Mother M. Theresa Maxis Duchemin” about the foundress of the community.

She is preceded in death by two brothers, John J. and Frank, and a sister, Kate Loftus.

She is survived by a sister, Mary MacEachen of Scranton, PA, two brothers, Sylvester of Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Joseph of Brooklyn, NY, nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held on Monday, October 26, with Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA. Interment will follow at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA. Friends may call on Sunday afternoon or evening at Marywood College.
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.

Below is a newspaper account about our Sister M. Immaculata Gillespie:

“Sr. M. Immaculata, College Foundress, buried on Monday, October 24, 1947. (sic)
The funeral of Sr. M. Immaculata, IHM, one of the founders of Marywood College and its first Dean, a position which she held for twenty-eight years, was held from St. Peter’s Cathedral on Monday Morning. Sr. Immaculata died Friday night in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Carbondale, where she had been a patient for some time.
The celebration (sic) of the Solemn Pontifical Mass of Requiem was the Most Reverend William J. Hafey, D.D. Bishop of Scranton. Two other members of the hierarchy were also seated in the sanctuary; their Excellencies, the Most Reverend Henry Klonowski, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton, and the Most Reverend Martin J. O’Connor, D.D. Rector of the North American College in Rome and former Scranton Auxiliary Bishop.
Rev. Thomas J. McHugh, LL.D. was assistant priest; the deacons were Rev. William K. Dolan, S.T.D. and Very Rev. Frank P. McHugh, V.F.; Rev. Joseph A. Friffin, Ph.D. and Rev. John J. Featherstone, LL.D. were deacon and sub-deacon respectively. Rev. Vincent P. Burke, S.T. and Rev. Thomas Horan, STD were masters of ceremonies.
Chaplains to Bishop Klonowski were Rev. Paul J. McKenzie and Rev. William J. Pakutka; the chaplains to Bishop O’Connor were Rev. Raymond Larkin and Rev. John J. Maher, STB.
Clergy, members of various religious orders, and alumnae of the college were present in large numbers. The students of the college attended in academic costume, the student Council forming a guard of honor at the Cathedral entrance. The Ordinary of the Mass was sung by the Students and the Proper by the Sisters’ Choir.
Addressing the congregation, His Excellency characterized Sr. M. Immaculata as “she of the light heart and great vision.” He commented on the legacy of lessons, now marvelously distributed, that she left at the end of her long life and praised the progress of the College under her guidance.
Sr. Immaculata was the daughter of the late Patrick and Bridget O’Boyle Gillespie and was born in St. Clair, PA. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 7, 1889 and made her religious profession on Aug. 2, 1891.
She first taught at St. Cecilia’s Academy in Scranton and then was assigned to the faculty of Marywood Seminary. It was largely through her planning and executive ability that Marywood College was founded and in 1915 she was appointed the first dean. Under her direction, the first College for Women in northeastern Pennsylvania grew to its present proportions until today it is recognized as one of the countries foremost educational institutions.
Sr. Immaculata continued as dean until four years ago when age and a failing health made her retirement a necessity. Being retired, however, did not mean a cessation of her activities until the time of her hospitalization she was busily at work bringing up to date her history of “The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” She was also author of “Mother M. Theresa Maxis Duchemin,” the life of the foundress of the Congregation.
Surviving Sr. Immaculata are a sister, Mrs. Samuel MacEachen of Scranton, and two brothers, Mr. Sylvester Gillespie of Wilkes-Barre and Mr. Joseph Gillespie of Brooklyn, NY. Pallbearers were John Gillespie of Wilkes-Barre, Joseph Gillespie of St. Clairsville, Ohio, Francis Kelly of Springfield, PA, nephews of the deceased; and Dr. John McDonnell, James Stone, and John Breslin of Scranton.
Services at the grave were conducted by Rt. Rev. Patrick Holand of Nativity. Interment was held at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, PA.”

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