In Memory

Sister M. Marita Gill, IHM

August 16, 1915 – April 3, 2008

Marita Gill, IHM

Sister M. Marita Gill, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, April 3, 2008 at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Born on August 6, 1915 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and given the name Alice Marie, she was the daughter of the late Thomas and Margaret Gilroy Gill. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1936, made temporary profession of her vows on May 8, 1939, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1942.

Sister Marita served as a teacher at the folowing schools: Nativity of Our Lord Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1939 to 1943; St. Paul High School in Scranton, PA, from 1943 to 1954; Kingston Catholic High School in Kingston, PA, from 1954 to 1961; St. Patrick High School in Scranton, PA, from 1961 to 1967; St. Rosalia High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1967 to 1971; Bishop Hannan High School in Scranton, PA, from 1971 to 1976; Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore, PA from 1976 to 1978; and Seton Catholic High School in Pittston, PA, from 1978 to 1992.

Sister Marita served as principal at St. Patrick High School in Scranton, PA, from 1961 to 1967.

Sister served as a prayer minister at St. Rocco’s Convent in Pittston, PA, from 1992 to 1996, as well as at the Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence, both in Scranton, PA, from 1997 until the time of her death.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin/French and a Master of Science degree in secondary school counseling, both from Marywood College, and a Master of Arts degree in Latin/Greek from Catholic University.

She was preceded in death by four brothers, Dr. John, Francis, Thomas and Reverend Nicholas, CP, aunts, Mother M. Marcella, IHM, Sister M. Ricarda, IHM, Sister M. Madalena Gilroy, IHM, Sister M. Ethelbert Gilroy, IHM, and an uncle, Reverend Leo Gilroy.

She is survived by nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, April 8, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will follow at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Monday, April 7, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m.

Archival Remembrance:

For most of her life, Sister Marita Gill served as a teacher and taught Latin and French. She also served as a guidance counselor in high schools located in Pennsylvania. While serving as principal at St. Patrick High School in West Scranton, she also taught Latin and French. Hundreds of students learned to love Latin in her classroom. As a guidance counselor, she mastered the art of listening and inspired a few vocations to religious life. May she rest in peace.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2008 issue

Sister Marita was my homeroom and Latin teacher at St. Paul School, Scranton. Besides her gift of teaching, she appealed to the students by way of her gift of listening. She became a sounding board for those of us who were seeking to find our vocation in life. By the time I was a senior at St. Paul’s, I knew that this Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was a model I’d like to follow. Through my early years in the novitiate and my first few years on mission, Marita continued to be there for me whenever I needed a friend.

While in high school, I discovered that Marita’s joy and peace came from her theme song which I knew to be “Have confidence in God.” Marita taught us, through her very gentle spirit, to examine our consciences on the depth of our confidence in a loving God.

As I am writing this reflection on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, I’m reminded of the words Jesus spoke in today’s Gospel: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places; I am indeed going to prepare a place for you and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be.”

When Sister Marita resided at Our Lady of Peace, my visits were brief. I felt she did not recognize me any longer and yet I knew by her smile and peaceful bearing that she still lived what she taught. Thanks, Sister Marita, for sharing the special gift of your life with me and many others who knew and loved you.

by Sr. Margaret F. Gallagher, IHM


Gill family photo taken in 1949
Seated: Sr. Ricarda Gill, Mother Marcella Gill, Sr. Madalena Gilroy Standing: Sr. Marita Gill and Sr. Ethelbert Gilroy

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