In Memory

Sister M. Virgilius Smith, IHM

October 11, 1916 – December 13, 2012

Virgilius Smith, IHM

Sister M. Virgilius Smith, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Thursday, December 13, 2012, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She was born on October 11, 1916, in New York, NY, and given the name Catherine Regina. She was the daughter of the late Harry F. and Regina Coffin Smith. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1934, made her temporary profession of vows on May 3, 1937, and her final profession of vows on August 1, 1940.

Sister Virgilius served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Matthew Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, PA, 1937 to 1938; St. John High School in Pittston, PA, from 1938 to 1940; St. Rosalia High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1940 to 1943; Cathedral Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1943 to 1944; All Saints Elementary School in Masontown, PA, from 1944 to 1945; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC, from 1945 to 1946; St. Mary Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1946 to 1947 and 1966 to 1967; St. Leo Elementary School in Ashley, PA, from 1947 to 1949; Sacred Heart of Mary Elementary School in Jermyn, PA, from 1949 to 1952; Archbishop Neale Elementary School in La Plata, MD, from 1952 to 1958; St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1958 to 1966; and St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1967 to 1969. She served as a librarian at Bishop O’Reilly High School in Kingston, PA, from 1969 to 1981.

Sister also served on the support staff at Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale, PA, from 1981 to 1995.

From 1995 until the time of her death, Sister Virgilius served as a prayer minister at Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, and a Master of Arts degree in education, both from Marywood College

She was preceded in death by a brother, Harry H.; and a sister, Joyce Naas.

She is survived by nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, December 18, 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 Monday, December 17, 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 Tuesday 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 2013 issue

Prayerful, compassionate, and generous—Sister Virgilius Smith truly exemplified what it means to be a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Her day began early with prayer to God whom she loved so much. I think this gave her the strength to keep going even when her physical limitations could have kept her down. She shared her spirituality with others as shown in her relationship with a young nurse in Carbondale. One day Sister Virgilius said, “If you say this prayer to our Blessed Mother every day, she will always take care of you.” The nurse was deeply touched, memorized the prayer and has said it now for more than thirty years.

I met Sister Virgilius at my first assignment which was at St. Joseph’s Hospital. My bedroom was right across from hers so we were close neighbors. And what a good neighbor she was! She would listen to me about my concerns and support me by her prayers. I could ask for her help with anything, and she was there for me and for many others.

As librarian, Sister Virgilius was asked to research all sorts of things for doctors, nurses, and other employees and, even under short notice, she came through with good results.

And in her “spare time” she used her creativity to make items to be sold at the Marian Convent Gift Shop, the hospital gift shop and later for the Development Office Craft Fairs.

Always friendly, she appreciated those who visited her in her later years, and her gentleness will never be forgotten. She will truly be missed.

by Sister Mary Ann Lang, IHM

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