In Memory

Sister M. Lenore McAllister, IHM

November 23, 1922 – October 25, 2020

Lenore McAllister, IHM

Sister M. Lenore McAllister, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on November 23, 1922, in Syracuse, NY, and given the name Eleanor Cecilia. She was the daughter of the late Frank B. and Anna King McAllister. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 2, 1941, made her temporary profession of vows on August 2, 1943, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1946.

Sister Lenore served as a teacher at the following schools: Holy Rosary Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1943 to 1953; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Bellefonte, PA, from 1953 to 1956; Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1956 to 1959; St. Patrick Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1959 to 1963; Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Clarks Green, PA, from 1963 to 1966; St. Joseph Elementary School in Renovo, PA, from 1966 to 1967; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1967 to 1974; and St. Paul Elementary School in Cranston, RI, from 1974 to 1978.

Sister also served as librarian at the following schools: St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1967 to 1974, and St. Paul Elementary School in Cranston, RI, from 1974 to 1978.

Sister Lenore also served in parish ministry at St. Marys Parish in Alexandria, VA, from 1978 to 1982, and at St. Lucy’s Parish in Syracuse, NY, from 1982 to 1990. She was a staff member at L’Arche Community in Syracuse, NY, from 1991 to 1997; and support service staff member at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1997 to 2006.

From 2006 until the time of her death, Sister Lenore was in prayer ministry at the IHM Center and at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French/social science, and a Master of Science degree in English/education, both from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by four brothers, John, James, Frank, and Charles, and five sisters, Ann Miller, Loretta Hoag, Mary Elizabeth Lelio, Bernardine Miller, and Rose Brady.

She is survived by nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA. Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus, the funeral mass and graveside service are private.

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.

Funeral mass:

Combined Vespers Prayer Service:

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2021 issue

Sister M. Lenore McAllister, IHM

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President, at Sister’s funeral on Wednesday, October 28, 2020:

The earth is our meeting place with God.

Those of you who knew Lenore or ever visited her room knew of her love for the earth and all of nature and how seriously she took her responsibility to protect God’s creation. Indeed, it was through nature that Lenore deepened her own awareness of God’s story of love in her life and in and for all creation. Here she came to understand profoundly the lessons of life, hope, beauty, death, and resurrection.

When we think about Lenore, we recall the innumerable people whose lives were made brighter by her bright smile and presence. For over thirty-five years, she sowed the seeds of faith in young students as a teacher and librarian in schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island. Lenore really enjoyed her students and relished seeing them learn and grow each day. Her patience, kindness, joy, and quick humor guided them to an understanding of their subjects and also a real awareness of God’s ever-constant love for them and for all creation. Although Lenore loved working with her young students, she wrote to her IHM leadership in the mid-1970s about the need for more adult education and ministry, especially to senior adults.
So she became a pastoral minister in parishes in Virginia and New York, visiting the sick and home-bound and leading small group sessions with adults on prayer, scripture, and social justice. She was especially drawn to the poor and the most vulnerable, and her spirit led her to join the L’Arche Community in Syracuse. For over six years she was a member of the staff there who lived and ministered with persons with intellectual disabilities. She later wrote that this experience, centered on service, community, and hope, deepened and enriched her own spirituality and her love for all of God’s creation. After Lenore left L’Arche, she returned to Scranton to minister as part of the support staff at the Marian Convent and then as a prayer minister here at OLP for the past fourteen years. In all of these ministries, Lenore worked steadfastly to bring God’s love, compassion, and dignity to each
person she met.

We rejoice in the gift of Lenore’s life with us. She won our hearts with her kind and joyful presence and openness of heart. We loved her freedom of spirit that allowed her to wear bright and cheery colors – flowers and stripes together – that most of us would be too self-conscious to do. One of the nurses here commented that if she hadn’t joined the IHMs, Lenore would surely have been a Woodstock hippie. We honor her unswerving commitment to the care of the earth that called us to do more, to see our obligation to help ensure a future for those who come after us. We are awed by her dedication to the most vulnerable – Rosie Gregorio who lived with Lenore in Syracuse told me how she would accompany Lenore every week on a “garbage picking” tour through the streets, looking for furniture items that others were throwing away, but that Lenore knew could be used by families
in need. Comments on our Facebook page refer to her as a treasure, a beloved friend, an inspiration, a beautiful angel. How blessed we all are
for Lenore’s presence among us.

So we pray today in thanksgiving for Lenore and we remember her family members who now welcome her into their loving embrace in heaven, especially her parents, Anna and Frank; her sisters, Ann, Loretta, Betty, Bernadine, and Rose; and her brothers, John, James, Frank, and Charles. We ask the God of all comfort to support Lenore’s wonderful family of nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and all their families. We pray, too, for her many friends and her IHM sisters, especially her Band members, all those who knew Lenore, and those sisters and staff members who shared life with her here at OLP. We trust that the kindness and joy that were always a part of Lenore’s life will live on in each of them.

Like a rainbow on a rainy day, Lenore touched our lives and brought joy to our world in so many ways. Though we are already missing her, and wish, perhaps a little selfishly, that she could have stayed with us even longer than her too brief almost ninety-eight years, we rejoice that she is enjoying her eternal happiness with her God and we know how lucky we were to have known her.

The following poem was written by Raymond Foss:

In our time upon the earth
in this place where we live
each of us needing to be mindful
caring for the earth
what we have been given
tending the garden with love

Not ours alone to exploit

to use up, to consume
[what is] entrusted to us
but for a short time
to care and to nurture
to leave as much behind
Caring for the Earth by Raymond A. Foss

Lenore indeed cared and nurtured all life wherever she was and for sure left much goodness and love behind when she returned home to her God last Sunday. May her legacy live deeply and joyfully in the lives of all she touched.

I now ask Sister Mary Kay to place the scriptures on Lenore’s 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 Lenore home.

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