In Memory

Sister M. St. William Lynch, IHM

May 28, 1924 – January 30, 2016

Sister M. St. William Lynch, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Saturday, January 30, 2016, in the Emergency Room at Regional Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on May 28, 1924, in Jessup, PA, and given the name Mary Ann. She was the daughter of the late Patrick Joseph and Irene Nealon Lynch. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1942, and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1945, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1948.

Sister St. William served as a teacher in the following schools: Epiphany Elementary School in Sayre, PA, from 1949 to 1951; Holy Name of Mary Catechetical Center in Montrose, PA, from 1951 to 1954; Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1955 to 1962; St. Rosalia Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1971 to 1973; Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1976 to 1978; and Wyoming Area Catholic Elementary School in Exeter, PA, from 1984 to 2003. She served as a catechetical instructor at St. Peter Catechetical Center in Wellsboro, PA, from 1945 to 1949, and St. Hugh Catechetical Center in Hughesville, PA, from 1954 to 1955.

Sister served as a principal at the following schools: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC, from 1962 to 1965; Little Flower Elementary School in Bethesda, MD, from 1965 to 1971; Sacred Heart of Mary Elementary School in Jermyn, PA, from 1973 to 1976; and Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Forest Hills, NY, from 1978 to 1984.

She also served as a library assistant at Notre Dame Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 2003 to 2014.

From 2014 until the time of her death, Sister St. William served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Marywood College, and a Master of Education degree from Marquette University.

She is preceded in death by a sister, Kathryn L. Casey, and three brothers, Francis, Joseph, and Martin.

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

The funeral will be Wednesday, February 3, 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 Tuesday, February 2, 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 Wednesday 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.



Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister M. St. William Lynch, Funeral February 3, 2016

As we gather in celebration of the life of Sister St. William, I want to welcome very specially her nephew, Thomas, and his daughter, Felicia, her dear friends, Belinda and Mary Alice and Dottie, the members of her mission group, her friends and faculty members from St. Matthew’s and Wyoming Area Catholic, and her many IHM friends, all whose lives she touched in so many wonderful ways.

I am very happy to welcome and thank our celebrant, Monsignor John Bergamo and Monsignor John Jordan for being here with us today. Monsignor Bergamo was St. William’s pastor for many years at St. Matthew’s parish in East Stroudsburg. Both are also long-time friends of our congregation.

I also want to express thanks to Sisters Jean, Eleanor Mary, and Mary Kay, the administrators here at Our Lady of Peace, and the OLP staff, for their loving care for St. William. “I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4: 1-3

These words from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians speak so clearly to me of the beautiful gift of life Sister St. William was for us: humble and gentle, patient (most of the time!), forgiving and loving (always!), peacemaker and unifier (except when playing her favorite card game!). At the wake service yesterday, as we shared some memories of her life among us, those qualities were mentioned frequently in the expressions of deep gratitude for this special woman whose love and trust in God overflowed into those she met. She absolutely delighted in the joy of life and in sharing that joy with others. Her gentle wit and warm smile engaged and welcomed all those around her, especially her beloved students. She loved life and lived it with grace, simplicity, and great-heartedness. Her honesty, goodness, and integrity touched us and moved us closer to the God she loved so deeply.

During her almost seventy-one years as a religious, St. William served as a teacher and principal in schools and catechetical centers in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and North Carolina. A woman of great creativity and many interests, her passion was clearly teaching. The “R” word (retire) was not in her vocabulary, so later on, she spent her days in school as a tutor, library assistant, and volunteer for almost anything that would be a help to her students. Dottie told me yesterday that, at age 79, St. William decided to take a Montessori class to learn new methods of teaching young children about the mass and gospel stories. So for that semester, she travelled once a week from Exeter to Tarrytown, NY and back for this class! For her, teaching was obviously not just a profession; it was a mission. She loved learning, all learning, and she was uniquely able to communicate that love to her students, parents, and fellow teachers. She cared deeply about them as individuals and took time to get to know them and offer words of advice or encouragement or challenge. As a teacher, as an IHM, as a person, St. William’s impact on all of us can truly be called “everlasting.”

St. William loved her family and relished being with, and talking about, them. We recall today the life of her mother and father, Irene and Patrick, her sister Kathryn, and brothers, Francis, Joseph, and Martin, with whom she is celebrating a joyous reunion in heaven. We ask God to fill with hope and peace the hearts of her niece, Linda, and nephews, Thomas, Dennis, and Peter, and their families, her cousins, and her dear friends, Belinda and Mary Alice, Dottie, and Antoinette. We remember, too, her band and mission group members, her many friends, her IHM sisters, especially those in Household 3A, and those who lovingly cared for her here at Our Lady of Peace. We trust that the gentleness and kindness that was always a part of St. William’s life will live on in each of them.

We loved St. William as sister, friend, teacher, mentor, decorator, card shark, flower arranger, and so much more. Mostly we loved her for what she taught us each and every day about God’s love, fidelity, and joy. Truly, St. William did indeed live a life worthy of the call she received. We were blessed by the remarkable life of this true saint among us. May we think of her and know that she, and God, are with us always.

Tom will now place the scriptures on St. William’s casket, for she heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons her home.

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