In Memory

Sister M. Sheila Reilly, IHM

February 25, 1914 – December 24, 2009

Sheila Reilly, IHM

Sister M. Sheila Reilly, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, December 24, 2009, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on February 25, 1914 in Pittsburgh, PA, and given the name Margaret. She was the daughter of the late John Francis and Margaret Tunney Reilly. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1932, and made her temporary profession of vows on April 30, 1935, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1938.

Sister Sheila served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Paul Elementary School in Scranton, from 1935 to 1939; St. Bernardine Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1939 to 1953; St. Paul High School in Scranton, from 1953 to 1954; and at Immaculata High School in New York, NY, from 1954 to 1963.

Sister Sheila was principal at South Scranton Catholic High School in Scranton, from 1963 to 1964. From 1964 to 1972, Sister Sheila was an education consultant for the IHM Congregation.

Sister served as a guidance counselor at Maria Regina Diocesan High School in Uniondale, NY, from 1972 to 1979; and at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, NY, from 1979 to 1982.

Following nearly fifty years as an educator, Sister Sheila became the coordinator of volunteers for Hospice of NEPA and served in that capacity from 1982 to 1986. From 1986 to 1992, Sister Sheila was a counselor at Walsh Manor in Carbondale, a maternity shelter of St. Joseph’s Center.

Sister Sheila utilized her culinary skills for the IHM Sisters at the River Street Convent in South Scranton from 1992 to 1998. From 1998 to 2005, Sister served as an archivist for oral history for the IHM Congregation.

From 2005 to the time of her death, Sister served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and at Our Lady of Peace Residence.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Marywood College, and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Catholic University of America.

She is preceded in death by two brothers, John F, Jr. and James; and two sisters, Nora McCue and Catherine T. McCue.

She is survived by nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Thursday, December 31, at 9:30 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will be at St. Catherine Cemetery, Moscow, Pa. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Wednesday, December 30, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 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.

Sheila’s Poetry

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2010 issue

Sister Sheila was a native of Pittsburgh and of Saint Rosalia Parish in Greenfield. Sister loved this neighborhood and was always so happy to talk about it and the many persons who entered religious life and the priesthood from there.

Of the elementary and secondary schools in which she served, the place she liked best was Immaculata High School in New York City. She felt the students there wanted to be challenged, and Sheila liked nothing better than challenging them and having them challenge her.

I first met Sheila at St. Bernardine’s in Baltimore and she had already made her reputation as a scholar. She was always an avid reader. Her interests were vast, but in the last decades of her life, the study of theology became more and more important.

From those first years with Baltimore, until very recently, our paths seldom crossed. One memorable event was a Thanksgiving when Sheila was in Oyster Bay. She was invited to celebrate the holiday with our family and graciously accepted. Sheila always enjoyed good food and lively conversations.

When I returned to the IHM Center in 2004 Sheila was a resident in Queen of Peace Community where I had been assigned. When her residence was changed to the Marian Convent, I visited with her often and later accompanied her when all the residents moved to Our Lady of Peace Residence. She loved a good conversation and topics could range from Joan Chittister’s latest book to the most current topic on the front page of the New York Times. Sheila had strong viewpoints on many topics and expressed them candidly. If your opinion differed from hers, be prepared to defend your point; but even if she did not agree, she respected what you had said.

I knew the end was not too far off when she merely scanned the front page of the New York Times and said, “You can pass it along, now.” As I watched at her bed side during the very last days, I continued to learn much from Sheila. She was prepared to meet her Maker, and she went to him without any fanfare, so typical of her.

by M. Benedicta Berendes, IHM

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