In Memory

Sister M. Immaculata Norton, IHM

December 4, 1921 – September 25, 2019

Immaculata Norton, IHM

Sister M. Immaculata Norton, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on December 4, 1921 in Scranton, PA, and given the name Martha. She was the daughter of the late Thomas and Helen Walsh Norton. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1943 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1946 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1949.

Sister M. Immaculata served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Joseph High School in Williamsport, PA, from 1946 to 1951; St. Mary High School in Manhasset, NY, from 1951 to 1959; and Central Catholic High School in Portland, OR, from 1959 to 1961.

She was a faculty member in the English Department of Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1961 to 2002.

Sister also served as receptionist at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 2002 to 2006.

From 2007 until the time of her death, Sister M. Immaculata served as a prayer minister at the IHM Center and Our Lady of Peace Residence, both in Scranton.

She received a Master of Arts degree in business education/drama from Marywood College, a Master of Arts degree in drama/English from Catholic University of America, a Master of Arts degree in counseling and a Master of Science degree in religious studies both from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by three sisters, Margaret Norton, Marilyn Norton, and Mary Early.

She is survived by a sister, Mildred Norton of Scranton, PA, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Tuesday, October 1, 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 Monday, September 30, 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 Tuesday 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, Fall 2019 issue

Reflection given by Sister Mary Reap, IHM Congregation Councilor

Sister M. Immaculata Norton, IHM, funeral on October 1, 2019

Good morning. In the name of Sr. Ellen and the entire congregation, I want to welcome you to this Mass celebrating the full and long life of our Sr. Immaculata Norton.

I welcome especially the members of sister’s family who are with us today: her sister Mildred, her niece Jane McLean and her husband, John; her nephews James, Tom and his wife Barbara, John and his wife Lynn and their families. Yesterday we were introduced to Dehlia, the newest member of the clan, fresh from her baptism on Sunday.

Our celebrant, Bishop Doherty, is a longtime family friend, and we are happy he could be with us today.

I welcome our sisters, associates, colleagues of sister, former students, and relatives and friends. We also welcome all those who join us this morning through our ustream connection.

The poet John O’Donohue wrote these lovely lines in the poem a Blessing of Angels:

May the angel of death arrive only

When your life is complete

And you have brought every given gift

To the threshold where its infinity can shine.

Yesterday during Vespers, we heard how Sr. Immaculata first heard of John O’Donohue and how grateful she was to have discovered him. Today, it seems that these lines could have been written for her. After 98 years this woman of many given gifts completed her life.

Her gift of teaching spanned some 56 years beginning in Williamsport, moving to Manhasset, as far away as Oregon, and finally back to Scranton, where she inspired a love of literature and theatre in hundreds of students for more than forty years at Marywood University. The love of learning she inspired in us came from deep within her. Sister Immaculata was a life-long learner before the term was popular, earning four master’s degrees over her life-time.

Yesterday, Jessica shared how Mac’s gift of love for her family touched her. Sister’s interest and concern can be summed up in the question she always asked them: What are you learning? Are you happy? Questions that, I think reflected her own priorities and goals.

If we need any further proof of the beauty of the gift of family, we need only turn to her sister Mildred, who made such a determined effort to be here today. Mildred, you have brought your gift to the threshold where it will shine for infinity as a beacon of love and strength for us.

Sister Immaculata was known for her quick wit and many stories. They will for sure be the gift that keeps on giving as we recount the many hours of laughter and fun she provided on a daily basis, sometimes at the expense of some of us. I’m sure everyone here is remembering an episode, even as I speak.

As important as all these given gifts of intelligence, humor, love of family were for Mac, I think we would all agree that her most beautiful and most important gift was her faith. Those beautiful lines of the poet Rilke seem to sum up Mac’s journey: When I go toward you, it is with my whole life.

The journey toward God as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was her joy. On September 25, that gift crossed the threshold into the loving arms of God where it will now shine for infinity.

Yesterday, we closed our service with this prayer: “This day we honor the memory of Sr. Immaculata whose fidelity to your Word has enriched our lives, our congregation, and our world. Like Mary, she brought the Word to birth in her life, which is now complete.” Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Sister’s nephew Tom will now place the scriptures on Sister Immaculata’s casket, for indeed, she heard the Word of God and brought it to birth; she staked her life on it, and lived it to completion…the Word now beckons her home.

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