In Memory

Sister M. Immaculate Severino, IHM

July 9, 1928 – October 11, 2008

Immaculate Severino, IHM

Sister M. Immaculate Severino, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at the IHM Center in Scranton.

She was born on July 9, 1928, in Fairview, NJ, and given the name Rosalie. She was the daughter of the late Ludovico and Liberty Marcucci Severino. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1950 and made her temporary profession of vows on May 3, 1953, and her final profession of vows on August 3, 1956.

Sister Immaculate served as a music and piano teacher at the following schools: Holy Rosary Elementary School in Scranton, from 1953 to 1955; Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1955 to 1957; Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1957 to 1959; St. Bernadine Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1959 to 1961; Monsignor McHugh Elementary School in Cresco, from 1961 to 1963; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mount Holly, NJ, from 1963 to 1964; St. Aloysius Elementary School in Cresson, from 1964 to 1966; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Clinton, MD, from 1966 to 1969; and as an associate professor of music at Marywood University in Scranton, from 1969 to 2000.

During her tenure at Marywood, her responsibilities included the teaching of studio piano, group piano for college students, piano pedagogy, piano literature, and keyboard harmony. She was awarded Master Teacher Certification by the Music Teachers National Association in 1984. She served as adjudicator for local and state competitions and as clinician for master classes for high school students. She was an active member of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association and was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 1982. She had served as State Chairman for Certification and was elected president of that organization. She also served as the MTNA Eastern Division Chairman and National Chairman of the Baldwin Piano and Selmer Instrumental Competitions. She was a member of the Executive Board of the Music Teachers Association. She was an active member of the Board of Directors of Scranton’s Community Concerts Association.

At Marywood University, The Severino Presidential Scholarship, was established in honor of Sister Immaculate who “taught her students to value a passion for music; a commitment to the discipline of practice; a oneness with the composer’s spirit; and a dedication to the ideal of excellence.”

Her own academic and artistic preparation was impeccable. She spent untold hours graciously accompanying student and faculty soloists, chamber ensembles, campus choir, and both campus and IHM Congregation worship services.

Upon retiring from academia, Sister Immaculate served at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, CO, as liturgist, organist and retreat director from 2000 to 2001. From 2001 until the time of her death, she served at the IHM Center in Scranton as liturgist, organist and piano teacher.

She received a Bachelor of Music degree in education from Marywood College, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Notre Dame. In addition, she pursued post graduate study in piano and piano pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, MD; Boston University, Boston, MA.; Manhattan School of Music, New York, N.; Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ; and at Penn State University, University Park.

She is survived by two sisters, Antoinette Madden Forte of Brick, NJ; Jean Devrous of Arvada, CO; and nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, October 14, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center on Monday, October 13 between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m.

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 2009 issue

“My soul, give praise to the Lord;
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to my God while I live.”
– Psalm 104:33-34

These heartfelt words from Psalm 104 were selected by our dear Sister Immaculate as she prepared for the fulfillment of her faith journey into eternal life.

Her strength of character, her integrity and passion for music, graced by our loving God and her fine parents, prepared her well for the legacy with which she would enrich the many students and colleagues who knew and loved her.

As Associate Professor of Music at Marywood University from 1969-2000, Sister Immaculate’s expertise served not only untold numbers of students in Music Education, but also gave service to numerous Music Teachers’ National Associations. Her performances, public as well as liturgical, were born from prayer. This she quoted to me many times: “It is not a performance but a prayer.”

We have all been enriched by Sister Immaculate’s life, her untiring spirit spent in loving service to our God through our IHM Congregation, and her faithful friendship which endeared us to her. To her sisters, Antoinette and Jean, she was sincerely devoted and faithful in keeping alive their family bond.

In quoting Sister Anne Munley’s beautiful reflection for Sister Immaculate, we can attest to her fidelity and love:

“My flame is not going out.
It is merging into
the flame of the heart of God
where it is joined
with the fire of all whom I love
and carry with me.”

by Sr. M. Celesta Sinisi, IHM

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