In Memory

Sister M. Thelma Gutt, IHM

February 2, 1915 – March 21, 2011

Thelma Gutt, IHM

Sister M. Thelma Gutt, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, March 21, 2011 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on February 2, 1915 in Renovo, PA, and given the name Mary Julia. She was the daughter of the late Michael and Sophie Kisko Gutt. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1933, made temporary profession of her vows on April 30, 1936 and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1939.

Sister Thelma served as a teacher for nearly fifty years at the following schools: All Saints Elementary School in Masontown, PA, from 1936 to 1942; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1942 to 1957; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Elementary School in Altoona, PA, from 1957 to 1959; St. Patrick Elementary School in Olyphant, PA, from 1959 to 1961; St. Paul Elementary School in New Bern, NC, from 1964 to 1966; St. Ambrose Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT, from 1970 to 1972; Pocono Central Catholic High School in Cresco, PA, from 1972 to 1975; Holy Rosary Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1975 to 1979; St. Mary Elementary School in Avoca, PA, from 1979 to 1983; and Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mt. Holly, NJ, from 1984 to 1989.

Sister Thelma served as principal at St. Paul Elementary School in New Bern, NC, from 1964 to1966; and St. Basil Elementary School in Dushore, PA, from 1966 to 1970.

Sister also served as catechist at Resurrection Catholic School in Muncy, PA, from 1961 to 1964; accounting assistant at St. Joseph Hospital in Carbondale, PA, from 1983 to 1984; support staff member at the Marian Convent in Scranton, PA, from 1989 to 1990; instructor at the Educational Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, from 1990 to 1992; and director of religious education at St. Agnes Parish in Forest City, PA, from 1992 to 1994.

From 1994 until the time of her death, Sister Thelma served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence, both in Scranton.

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

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Francis and Robert, and three sisters, Margaret Menavich, Catherine Sackarnoski, and Irene Johnstonbaugh.

She is survived by two sisters, Anna D. Tome of York, PA, and Pauline Hensel of Lock Haven, PA; nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Friday, March 25, 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, March 24, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 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, Spring 2011 issue

I met Sister Thelma on my first mission at St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn. That was the happiest mission experience of my religious life, and Sister Thelma was no small part of creating the wonderful community we all shared there. She became my teaching mentor and my friend. She taught me the joy in teaching. She was firm but fair and forgiving. She knew how to face difficult situations and then
move on. When she corrected a child, she soon after called on her and praised her for something else. She was patient and generous with
her time not only with students but also with the sisters with whom she lived.

Much of her spare time was given to making our habits, veils, and linens—meticulously sewn, and always perfect. If anyone needed any sewing, she was happy to do it. We were the best dressed in the community!

I was happy to be with Sister Thelma again when I came to the Marian Convent to work during summers. During those years at the Marian Convent and later at Our Lady of Peace Residence, her health declined. In the last weeks of her life at Our Lady of Peace Residence, when she could no longer speak, she’d let me know with her eyes that she was aware that I was near. Before she died she called out my name. She was aware.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

by Gracette Baker, IHM

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