In Memory

Sister M. Monica Byrne, IHM

May 12, 1926 – September 14, 2019

Monica Byrne, IHM

Sister M. Monica Byrne, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at Our Lady of Peace Residence, in Scranton, PA.

She was born on May 12, 1926, in Spangler, PA, and given the name Rita Marie. She was the daughter of the late Michael and Gertrude Nagle Byrne. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1945 and made her temporary profession of vows on August 2, 1948 and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1951.

Sister Monica served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Cecilia Elementary School in Exeter, PA, from 1948 to 1949; Cathedral Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1949 to 1950; St. Joseph Elementary School in Danville, PA, from 1950 to 1953; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1953 to 1955 and 1994 to 1995; Holy Angels Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1955 to 1958; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mt. Holly, NJ, from 1958 to 1961; St. Monica Elementary School in Raleigh, NC, from 1961 to 1964; St. Rosalia Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1971 to 1973; St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1977 to 1980; St. Matthew Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1980 to 1982; St. Joseph Elementary School in Williamsport, PA, from 1982 to 1994; and St. Bernard Elementary School in Hastings, PA, from 1995 to 1997. She also served as the media center assistant at Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ, from 1997 to 2017.

Sister Monica served as principal at the following schools: St. Anthony Elementary School in Portland, OR, from 1964 to 1968; Archbishop Neale Elementary School in La Plata, MD, from 1968 to 1971; and Mount Carmel Elementary School in Altoona, PA, from 1973 to 1977.

From 2017 until the time of her death, Sister Monica was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science degree in education from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by five brothers, Michael, Paul, Reverend Robert, Louis, and Reverend Walter.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, Josephine Byrne Ebben of Windsor, CO, nieces and nephews, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Friday, September 20, 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 Thursday, September 19, 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 Friday 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 Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister M. Monica Byrne, IHM, funeral on September 20, 2019

Good morning, Everyone. We gather today in prayer to celebrate the gentle, gracious life of our Sister Monica. We welcome very specially her nephews, Ken and his wife, Jean, Raymond and his wife, Cheryl; her Band member, Janice; her close friends, Bernadette and Claudette, with whom she lived in Delran; members of Household 3A, with whom Monica lived here at Our Lady of Peace, sisters, friends, and associates who are here with us today; and all who join us via livestream.

I want to thank Father Lee Havey from St. Ann’s, who is our celebrant today. We so appreciate your being here with us, Father.

I would like to express our thanks to Sisters Mary Kay and Kate and Jaimie Mancuso, the administrators here at Our Lady of Peace, and the entire OLP pastoral and nursing staffs for their care and support of Monica during her years here. I extend our deepest appreciation also to the staff of Hospice of the Sacred Heart for their caring efforts and attention to Monica during these past months.

“Faith never knows where it is being led,

but it loves and knows the one who is leading.”

Oswald Chambers

Certainly these words found expression in the way Monica lived throughout her life. For sixty-nine of her seventy-one years of religious life, she shaped the minds and fostered the faith of countless students, teachers, and parents in schools in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, and Oregon. Always she trusted the direction of God’s Spirit as she would pick up and move to her new ministry assignment, willing to start over in each place and establish new connections and relationships. Her ‘yes’ to God and others was the simple but profound act of belief and trust in God that is the essence of the spiritual journey we are all on. For Monica, this trust revealed the rock-solid relationship she had with God which was the source of her gentle strength, love, and joy throughout her life. Her example of absolute trust in God which let her give herself freely and totally in goodness to all is a lesson for each of us.

I said yesterday at our wake service that Monica was a born teacher not because of the number of years she taught, but because of her passion and commitment which made her such a remarkable educator and person. I think that was evidenced yesterday when Dennis and Molly Guido and Lisa Liebrand, her former principal and his wife and administrative assistant, made the trip here from Delran just to be present at her wake. As teacher and principal, she did teach by example, not just words. She genuinely loved, respected, and enjoyed her interactions with her students and their families. She used those daily encounters, in and out of the classroom, as opportunities to teach life-long lessons. She was generous with her time and efforts to give each one the individual educational help needed. Monica had a knack for seeing the potential in her students and focused on helping them to recognize and develop it in themselves. Perhaps, more than anything else, what made her such a wonderful teacher and mentor for others was that she truly cared about her students, and people, and she showed it. That same kindness and gentle presence was evidenced here at Our Lady of Peace during these past two years.

We rejoice in the gift of Monica’s life with us. Her trust in God and her gratitude for all that God gave her defined her life. She was ever ready with a word or act of kindness or support when needed and her generosity was never-ending. She cherished her family and friends and enjoyed a good celebration with others. During these past months, it was obvious to all that Monica was preparing for her journey home to God. Always an organized person, she had her instructions for the wake and mass prepared and her things in order. Her journey home took longer than she or we imagined, but we weren’t surprised that it was her heart that refused to give up – a heart whose generosity and love knew no bounds during her life. We know that heart will continue to hold her loved ones for all eternity.

While she enjoyed the various places where she taught and lived, there was a very special place in Monica’s heart for Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ, where she ministered for twenty years. How fitting, then, that after her long journey, she returned home to her God last Saturday on the Feast of the Holy Cross. We rejoice that she is now enjoying eternal life with her parents, Gertrude and Michael, and her brothers, Michael, Paul, Father Robert, Louis, Eugene, and Father Walter who are now reunited with her as she is welcomed into the joy of eternal life by the God she loved and served so well.

Our prayers are with those whose lives were touched by Monica’s kindness and dedication, especially her sister-in-law, Josephine, her nephews, Ken and wife, Jean, Raymond and his wife, Cheryl, and all her family members, her close friends, Claudette and Bernadette, who lived with her in Delran, and her Band member, Janice, We pray too for the sisters at OLP, especially those who lived with her in Household 3A, all her IHM sisters and friends, the members of the Holy Cross family in Delran, and all who knew and accompanied Monica on her life’s journey. We hold in our prayer too the caregivers from Hospice of the Sacred Heart, who provided comfort for Monica. We ask the God of all consolation to comfort us all at this time of loss.

Monica’s entire life was one of seeking God in all people and in all creation. We are consoled by the sure knowledge that she is once again back in her loving God’s embrace to enjoy the same love she so generously gave to others through her life. Our wishes and prayers for her today are beautifully expressed by these words of the writer and poet, John O’Donohue,: “May there be a beautiful welcome for you in the home you are going to, because you’re not going to somewhere strange, but you are going back to the home that you never really left.” (John O’Donohue, The Horizon Is In the Well).

Let us begin now in prayer for Monica who heard the Word of God; indeed, she staked her life upon it, and received life to the full … the Word now beckons Monica home.

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