In Memory

Sister Mary Alice Wheatley, IHM

September 17, 1941 – October 10, 2007

Sister Mary Alice Wheatley, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. Almarita) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

Daughter of the late Francis V. and Rita Clements Wheatley, she was born on September 17, 1941 in Newport, MD. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1959, made her temporary profession of vows on June 27, 1962, and her final profession of vows on June 27, 1967.

Sister Mary Alice served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Patrick Elementary School in Spangler, PA, from 1964 to 1966; St. Thomas Elementary School in Bedford, PA, from 1966 to 1969; St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD, from 1969 to 1975; Little Flower Elementary School in Bethesda, MD, from 1975 to 1981; and St. Ambrose Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT, from 1994 to 2007.

Sister served as principal at the following schools: Little Flower Elementary School in Bethesda, MD, in 1978; Holy Rosary Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1981 to 1986; Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Clarks Green, PA, from 1986 to 1991; and at Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY, from 1991 to 1994.

From July 2007 until the time of her death, Sister Mary Alice served as a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by a brother James Howard; and a sister Helen Marie McCann.

She is survived by a sister, Bernardine; and two brothers, Richard T. and Francis V.; three nieces Beverly Bridgett and Cynthia Bridges all of La Plata, MD; and Jacqueline Miyasto of Hawaii; and a nephew Scott McCann of Huntington, NY.

The funeral will be Monday, October 15, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Residence, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow. Friends may call at Our Lady of Peace Residence on Sunday, October 14, between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

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, Winter 2007 issue

I had the privilege of living with Mary Alice many years ago in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was an amazing first grade teacher. Mary Alice was a teacher who could work miracles with children, especially during her last thirteen years in Bridgeport Connecticut, where she showed remarkable sensitivity to children who were educationally and emotionally challenged. Mary Alice’s students loved her and she loved them. Mary Alice mentored a student through his twelve years of grade and high school. I met him, Joshua, at Mary Alice’s bedside at Our Lady of Peace Residence during her illness. He told me all that Mary Alice had taught him during those twelve years. He went on to say that she gave not only one hundred percent of herself but one hundred twenty-five percent to all that she did for him and she never gave up on him. (I know that she did this for other students also.) This six-foot, handsome African-American young man bent down and held Mary Alice in his arms and thanked her for never giving up on him. We cried.

Mary Alice was an exemplary IHM Sister who served so many with a joyful, loving, self emptying spirit. She was always so generous and hard working, and always thought of others rather than herself.

Mary Alice had many faithful friends to whom she was devoted. I was delighted to be one of them. I was fortunate to spend time with Mary Alice at OLP as she suffered and awaited her time to meet her God. During that time she was always thinking of others. She would ask me to get a feast day card for a friend and a birthday card for another and a box of candy for Marty, who fixed her TV. She had a birthday card ready for Joshua to be mailed on Oct 1 for his birthday on October 8.

Mary Alice loved her family. I finally met Bernardine, her sister, at Our Lady of Peace. Bernardine spent many of Mary Alice’s last days with her as well as many other family members; their pictures filled her room.

Mary Alice had a special eye for beauty and this showed in her classroom, the convent and in the flowers she planted in the convent yards wherever she lived. She also loved baseball. As usual, on the morning of her death, the sports page was on her chair.

May Mary Alice’s spirit of joyful, loving service enliven and sustain us as we continue on the journey.

by Sr. Eva Marie Zlotucha, IHM

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