In Memory

Sister M. St. Francis Lyons, IHM

March 16, 1937 – February 6, 2018

St Francis Lyons, IHM

Sister M. St. Francis Lyons, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on March 16, 1937, in Pittsburgh, PA, and given the name Mary Ursula. She was the daughter of the late James and Mary Carney Lyons. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1955 and made her temporary profession of vows on March 13, 1958 and her final profession of vows on June 22, 1963.

Sister St. Francis served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1958 to 1964; St. Cecilia Elementary School in Exeter, PA, from 1964 to 1966; St. Bernardine Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1966 to 1968; Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1968 to 1971; St. Monica Elementary School in Raleigh, NC, from 1971 to 1972; Mother of Mercy Elementary School in Washington, NC, from 1972 to 1973; St. Thomas Elementary School in Providence, RI, from 1973 to 1978; St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1978 to 1979; and Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Clarks Green, PA, from 1979 to 1983.

Sister also served as director of religious education/director of transportation at St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton, PA, from 1983 to 2016.

From 2016 until the time of her death, Sister St. Francis served as a volunteer at St. Joseph’s Center.

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

She is preceded in death by two brothers, infant James F., and James Vincent.

She is survived by cousins, and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Monday, February 12, at 10:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center Chapel, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Sunday, February 11, between 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Monday 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, Spring 2018 issue

Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister St. Francis Lyons, funeral February 12, 2018

“You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

As I listened to the wonderful memories shared about Franny yesterday during her wake service, these words of the prophet Micah seemed so appropriate, for they capture the true source of her goodness and her understanding of vocation and mission. Most people are lucky enough to have one family – Franny had three. Her love for her family of origin, her IHM family, and her St. Joseph’s Center family, her dedication to her call as an IHM, her commitment to serve others, especially the most vulnerable, and her ever-generous heart were all grounded in her deep, inner trust and faith in her God, whom she loved deeply and unreservedly and who loved her even more.

There is no doubt, as witnessed yesterday by the huge outpouring of people who came to Franny’s wake and shared their stories about her, that she touched and indeed, shaped, countless lives and hearts by the way she lived hers. For twenty-five years, she taught young children in elementary schools.Her lesson plans of selflessness, integrity, respect, care, and love for God and others were taught by example, not justwords, and were life-long lessons for her students and fellow teachers as well. Thirty-five years ago, Franny accepted a position at St. Joseph’s Center and so began an incredible journey of love and dedication and joy. Her job titles included typist, director of religious education, transportation coordinator, switchboard operator, mail organizer – but, in fact, you name it, Franny did it. She was always ready to help, no matter when or where or what, and often before anyone else knew there was a need, Franny had it done.

But truly, it was not so much what she did, but how she did it that impacts us forever. Many people are called saints after they die, but Franny was a saint among us. She was an authentic person who lived out her deep love relationship with God in her relationships with all of us. There was no reference scale in Franny’s life. She touched with unconditional and all-embracing love the lives of administrators, staff, residents, and visitors alike, and all were blessed by her goodness. We laughed a bit yesterday with Sister Mary Ann Lang when she told the story about how one of the St. Joe’s staff members asked her to please take her special prayer intention to Franny, which Mary Ann did, of course. But, as Mary Ann noted with a laugh, that person didn’t ask her to pray – she wanted Franny’s prayers. Many of us have been in similar situations and understood, like Mary Ann, that there was no slight intended, and, in fact, we took our own intentions to Franny too!

We give abundant thanks to God for the gift of Franny’s life among us and celebrate the beginning of her eternal life with her God in heaven. We remember today very specially her parents, Mary and James, and her brothers, James F. and James Vincent. What a joyful reunion they, and so many of her sister friends, surely enjoyed last Tuesday when Franny arrived in heaven. I’m sure the celebration is still going on.

We hold in our prayer today Franny’s cousins, the sisters at St. Joseph’s Center convent with whom she lived, Sister Maryalice and the staff and residents of St. Joseph’s Center, the sisters at OLP, her many dear IHM friends, her band members, some of whom are here with us today, her mission group, and all who knew and loved her. We also pray in thanksgiving for her doctors and the nursing and pastoral staff at OLP and Hospice of the Sacred Heart who cared for her so tenderly.

Many people in this world yearn for the limelight, or look to do something heroic, something that affects our world on a grand scale. Franny’s life is an example of the extraordinary impact of countless small acts of kindness done out of selfless love. Her name may not be written in history books, but her influence on our lives and on the lives of so many others is lasting. Her name, her legacy is written in our hearts forever.

“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahlil Gibran

Our tears of sorrow today are for ourselves and one another, for we shall miss Franny’s presence, her joy, her counsel among us. But our faith leads us to rejoice in her new life of fullness and grace and the knowledge that she is our go-to saint now.

Sister Marilyn, a member of Franny’s Band, will now place the scriptures on Franny’s casket, for indeed she heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons Franny home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *