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In Memory

Sister M. Tarcisius Tasselli, IHM

April 12, 1929 – April 5, 2024

Sister M. Tarcisius Tasselli, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, April 5, 2024, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

Born on April 12, 1929, in Renovo, PA, and given the name Rosemary, Sister Tarcisius was the daughter of the late John and Anna Sachette Tasselli. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1948, made temporary profession of her vows on May 9, 1951, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1954. Sister Tarcisius received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Marywood College.

Sister Tarcisius served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Paul Elementary School in Cranston, RI, from 1951 to 1961; St. Basil Elementary School in Dushore, PA, from 1961 to 1963; St. Edward Elementary School in Twin Falls, ID, from 1963 to 1964; St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1964 to 1966; Our Lady of Good Counsel Elementary School in Inwood, NY, from 1966 to 1970; St. Joseph Elementary School in Renovo, PA, from 1970 to 1971; St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1971 to 1977; St. Joseph Elementary School in Williamsport, PA, from 1977 to 1980; Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School in Forty Fort, PA, from 1980 to 1982; St. Patrick Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1982 to 1987; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Bellefonte, PA, from 1987 to 1990; and Notre Dame Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1990 to 1996.

At St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Elementary School in Dunmore, PA, Sister Tarcisius served as a teacher’s aide from 1996 to 2002, and volunteer, from 2002 to 2022.

From 2022 until the time of her death, Sister Tarcisius was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was preceded in death by three brothers, Angelo, Anthony and Vito, and a sister, Claire Margaret. Sister Tarcisius is survived by a sister, Betty Crissman of Weatherly, PA; nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Thursday, April 11, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 1510 University Avenue in Dunmore, PA. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Thursday, April 11, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Interment will follow Mass on Thursday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Funeral Mass

Eulogy

Reflection given by Sister Judy O’Brien, IHM Leadership Team Member

My sharing of life with Tarcisius began many years ago as a very young sister. In the mid 80’s I lived in community at St. Joseph’s Center with the then, Sister Rosemary Tasselli, IHM. For a brief time, about two years or so, Tarcisius assumed her baptismal name of Rosemary. Not long after that transition Rosemary realized that she missed and longed to return to her religious name of Tarcisius. She shared with me that she asked her councilor at the time, Sr. St. Mel to go back to her beloved religious name of Tarcisius, and that is who she is to this day. 

I did some research about St. Tarcisius to try and understand the love of her religious name. St. Tarcisius is remembered for his bravery and sacrifice. His story is said to be an example “of the power of faith and the willingness to stand up for one’s belief even in the face of persecution and death, defending the Eucharist.” St. Tarcisius carries the title of Martyr. Sister Tarcisius had that same passion for the Eucharist.

I think many of us, if asked to share of our experiences of Sr. Tarcisius would describe her as a kind, sweet, humble and gentle presence in the world. When engaged with her she had the gift of making all of us feel important and loved. But a closer look at her personality, I believe, reveals that she was strong, sometimes stubborn and even fierce in her love of her God. Tarcisius was totally motivated by that love and everything she did flowed out of her intimate relationship with Jesus, and that was how she lived her life. This strength is exemplified in the following story.

Once upon a time in her later years, around the age of 93 or so, while living at St. Mary’s Convent in Dunmore, Tarcisius would drive herself, and probably others at times, to daily Mass at St. Paul’s Church in Scranton. If you are familiar with the convent in Dunmore, you know that there is a small, tightly-spaced garage in the back where the house car was often parked. In her determined spirit to get to daily Eucharist, Tarcisius would attempt to back the car out of the garage and in doing so may have accidently on many an occasion scraped the frame of garage door leaving multiple scratches on the side doors of the car. No problem for Tarcisius, she had a secret supply of permanent markers that she would use to color in the scratches. The side of the car was covered in them. I have a vivid image of her outside filling in the marks with the closest color she could find because nothing was going to stop her from getting to Mass. She was fierce in her love of God. 

Sr. Tarcisius moved two years ago to Our Lady of Peace where she quickly settled in and made it her home. She loved it here. She spoke of the care and the compassion that she received and treasured her time living with her sisters, having her many friends and family visit and interactioning with those caring for her daily. To be in the presence of Sr. Tarcisius Tasselli was to be in the loving presence of God.

About two months ago, I stopped in to see her at around ten o’clock in the morning.  Most unusually, she was still curled up in her bed. She told me she hadn’t slept well the night before and that she was very tired. She also shared with me that she was ready for God to take her. I knew that she spoke the truth. She was both tired and ready.  She perked up for a while in the weeks that followed but I knew she was on her journey home. That earthly journey came to an end last Friday. Assisted by our wonderful staff and the beautiful caregivers from hospice, Tarcisius peacefully closed her eyes and I have to believe walked into the loving arms of the God whom she fiercely loved. Off you go my friend, fly free and happy. Thank you for loving us, and so teaching us how to love.  Amen.

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