In Memory

Sister Moira Murray, IHM

August 14, 1929 – November 24, 2013

Moira Murray, IHM

Sister Moira Murray, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Mary Owen) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Sunday, November 24, 2013, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on August 14, 1929, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and given the name Mary Anna Patricia. She was the daughter of the late Edward and Eleanore Elmore Murray. She entered the IHM Congregation on July 14, 1948, and made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1951, and her final profession of vows on August 2, 1954.

Sister Moira served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Agnes Elementary School in Lock Haven, PA, from 1951 to 1953; St. John Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1953 to 1954; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, from 1954 to 1956 and 1966 to 1975; St. Rita Elementary School Baltimore, MD, from 1956 to 1963; St. John Elementary School in Pittston, PA, from 1963 to 1966; St. Ephrem Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, from 1975 to 1977; St. Paul Elementary School in Cranston, RI, from 1977 to 1984; Most Holy Rosary Elementary School in Syracuse, NY, from 1984 to 1986; Sacred Heart Elementary School in Mt. Holly, NJ, from 1986 to 1993; and Epiphany Elementary School in Sayre, PA, in 1993.

Sister also served on the support staff of the school’s office at St. Patrick Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 1993 to 2001; and at St. Paul Elementary School in Scranton, PA, from 2001 to 2005.

From 2005 until the time of her death, Sister Moira was a prayer minister at the Marian Convent and at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Marywood College.

She is preceded in death by a brother, Reverend Seamus, CSSP, a sister, Kathleen, and an aunt, Sister M. Ann Patricia Elmore, IHM.

She is survived by two sisters, Eileen Ward and Ann Murray, both of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and two cousins, Aileen McKenna of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Pauline Marmion of Buffalo, NY.

The funeral will be Wednesday, November 27, 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 Tuesday, November 26, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Interment will follow Mass on Wednesday 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 2014 issue

On November 24, 2013, Sister Moira Murray ended the long journey from Belfast, Ireland to Scranton, Pennsylvania in June 1948 to become an IHM Sister. Sister Moira was one of sixty-four native-born Irish Sisters who left Ireland to enter the Scranton IHM Congregation, dating from 1872 to Sister Moira’s entrance in 1948.

Born on August 14, 1928, Sister Moira was one of five children, all of whom were educated in Catholic schools. It was in these schools that Moira became acquainted first with the Sisters of Charity, and later, in high school, with the Dominican Sisters. Asked whether she ever considered entering these congregations, she promptly replied, “Never.” It was undoubtedly the influence of her mother’s sister, Sister Ann Patricia Elmore, who had entered the IHM Congregation in 1927 with four other Irish young ladies, that Moira had come to know the IHM Congregation. The periodic visits of these Sisters to Ireland kept that connection alive.

Professed as an IHM Sister on May 8, 1951, she was known as Sister Mary Owen. She loved teaching, and it was well-known that the children were fascinated with her Irish brogue and often imitated it. She served as elementary teacher at St. Agnes Elementary School, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, New York, Mount Holly, New Jersey, and St. Paul’s, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her favorite mission was Dundalk, Maryland, reminiscent of a town near Belfast, Ireland, called Dundock.

May Sister Moira rest in peace, and may the pioneer spirit of our native Irish Sisters be alive in new IHM vocations.

by Sister M. Michel Keenan, IHM

The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary benefited from the efforts to bring young women from Ireland to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Over the years a total of sixty-five young women became professed IHM religious. Their services were received as far west at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the IHM Academy and at St. Edward School, Twin Falls, Idaho. The southern missions witnessed their dedication in Washington, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It was remarked that black children in some southern schools were speaking with an Irish brogue! The Sisters from Ireland also served in many locations in Pennsylvania, such as Dushore, Lock Haven, Exeter, Altoona, Pittsburgh, St. Michael’s School in Hoban Heights, Cresson, Pittston, Scranton, and Williamsport. New York and Rhode Island missions also received their services.

Excerpted from The Story of the Native Irish Sisters Who Entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Scranton Pennsylvania by Sister M. Michel Keenan, IHM, 2006, p.18

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