In Memory

Sister Mary William Philbin, IHM

October 3, 1946 – December 22, 2021

Mary William Philbin, IHM

Sister Mary William Philbin, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at Regional Hospital in Scranton, PA.

She was born on October 3, 1946, in Scranton, PA, and given the name Mary Therese. She was the daughter of the late William and Mary Bohan Philbin. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1964, and made her temporary profession of vows on June 26, 1967, and her final profession of vows on August 26, 1972.

Sister Mary William served as a teacher in the following schools: St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1969 to 1970; St. Ann Elementary School in Nyack, NY, from 1970 to 1973; St. Thomas Elementary School in Providence, RI, from 1973 to 1978; St. Raymond Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY, from 1978 to 1979; Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Clarks Green, PA, from 1979 to 1983; St. Rose Elementary School in Carbondale, PA, from 1983 to 1987; and St. Clare/St. Paul Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1987 to 2016.

Sister also served on the support staff and as a Telespond volunteer at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA, from 2016 until the time of her death.

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

She is preceded in death by a sister, Jean King.

She is survived by three sisters, Judy Digwood of Taylor, PA, Nancy Laffey of Moosic, PA, Eileen Hayes of Scranton, PA, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She is also survived by the members of the IHM Congregation.

Interment will be at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

A memorial mass in celebration of Sister Mary William’s life will be held Thursday, December 30, at 6:00 p.m., at St. Paul Church, 1510 Penn Ave, Scranton, PA. All are welcome.

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.

Vespers Service:

Funeral Mass:

Sister Mary William Philbin, IHM
Funeral Eulogy, Wednesday, December 29, 2021
by Sister Terri Jordan, IHM, Leadership Team

Mary William spent 47 years in the ministry of elementary education, 29 of those years were spent here in Scranton at St. Clare’s and St. Paul’s school. She loved being an educator especially of the little children as depicted on the cover of the Liturgy booklet. The last five years of her life were spent in ministry at Our Lady of Peace Residence. There she joyfully and without hesitation responded to the many needs of the sisters.

The “Our Mission” section of the IHM constitutions reads, “We strive to serve in a joyful, loving, hospitable and self-emptying spirit, reflecting that humility and simplicity which present a clear and understandable witness to Christ, who welcomed everyone.” Mary William lived out that statement to the fullest.

Yesterday I was speaking with a sister and she commented on how may people referred to Mary William as a saint. The sister and I both commented that neither of us would need to worry about that.

That was a frequent comment about Mary William and I share with you comments people shared on Facebook, in the comment section of the obituary, or those shared directly with me which support “she was a living saint”.

  • She was a living saint
  • Angel on earth
  • Lead with quiet grace
  • If she isn’t in heaven then no one is
  • Lucky to have known her
  • Wonderful person inside and out
  • Kind
  • Gentle
  • How blessed my child/I was to have had her as a teacher
  • True servant of God
  • Favorite teacher
  • Generous
  • Humble
  • Selfless
  • Never said an unkind word about anyone
  • Though of others right up to her death
  • When asked why she stayed at the end of day to clean and dust the school when there was staff who did that, she replied as I am cleaning, I can pray for the many people who asked me to pray for them

And the examples could and did go on. Mary William clearly touched a lot of lives in ways that were probably not know by her.

The offertory song for today is Hail Mary, Gentle Woman and the refrain goes like this:”Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star, so strong and bright, gentle Mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom; teach us love. As we prepare for Mary William’s send off let us pray to her that she will continue to teach us wisdom and love.

I would now like to invite Nancy, Eileen, and Judy to place the bible on Mary William’s coffin. For she heard the word of Lord, staked her life upon her, and the Lord now calls her home.

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