Marjorie Marie Howe, CSJ

 We remember her In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.
August 4, 1925 – October 8, 2018

Sister Cecilia Agnes requested that today’s reflections include some biographical data and a letter, which she had intended to compose.  Since she was not able to accomplish her task, I will humbly assume that responsibility with some assistance from Sister’s family.

Virginia Mulrennan was born in Everett to Elizabeth and James Mulrennan. She was raised with her sisters Marion and Patricia, both of whom she now joins in eternal happiness.  As you may note from her choice of a closing hymn today, Cecilia was proud of her Irish heritage, often remarking that her parents were from County Mayo.

Cecilia encountered the Sisters of St. Joseph both at immaculate Conception School in Everett and at Regis College, where she earned her degree in biology.  In September, 1946, Cecilia entered the Sisters of St. Joseph along with her classmate and good friend, Sister Regina Harrington.

As a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, whose primary ministry at the time was education, Cecilia was an excellent fit.  Beginning her teaching career at Walnut Park Country Day School, she soon moved on to teaching high school biology to students at St. Thomas, Jamaica Plain, and Cathedral High School.  Having completed both a master’s and doctor’s degree in biology at Fordham University, the logical next step was teaching at her beloved alma mater, Regis.  In 1959 Cecilia began a fifty-two-year relationship with the college as a faculty member, professor of biology, Chairperson of the Biology Department, and ultimately as an advisor to continuing education students,

When her colleague, Sister Emily Cahill, Professor of Chemistry, died in 1991, Cecilia offered reflections at the liturgy in the convent chapel.  She spoke of her image of Sister Emily rushing through the pathways of heaven, her white lab coat flapping as she chased after the great minds of science with probing questions about the mysteries she had studied and taught.  I’d like to think that Cecilia is doing the same thing, pursuing the great Teilhard to engage him in conversation and sharing her views with him.

To provide a more complete picture of our dear Sister Cecilia Agnes I invite her niece, Heather, to share reflections on behalf on the family.

Given by Sister Judith Costello

October 12, 2018

 Memories of Ginnie

I am honored to share recollections, thoughts and memories of Ginnie as we remember her life. Ginnie was one of three Mulrennan sisters, the oldest ahead of Marion and Patsy. We are her nine nieces and nephews, and we are honored to celebrate the memory of our dear Auntie Ginnie.

Mary Beth Conry   I will always remember our dear “Auntie Sister” as a life-long learner. She always had an engaged, youthful mind and outlook even as she aged. I’ll always remember the large pile of books by the chair in her room at Bethany.

She touched the lives of so many of her students at Regis, many of whom were friends while I was there. They would still ask about CA even now. In fact, I’ve received several emails and texts since Monday from Regis friends expressing their sympathy and remembering Ginny with fondness.  How wonderful to be remembered that way and how lucky we were to have had her for so long.

 Colleen Graham               My Auntie Ginnie or as we all called her just -Ginnie, was the lighthouse in the storm for our entire family and me.

A woman who was both contemplative and curious about literature, biology, genetics, music, politics and the world in which she lived.  Ginnie lived her life adhering to her Catholic faith and her religious community and created a template for me of what a well-lived life could look like.  I am grateful to have been a part of her wonderful life. She loved and was beloved by us all.

 Kathleen MacLeod One of my favorite times with Ginnie was going to visit her at Regis College. I got to stay in the nuns quarters and spend time with her and the other sisters. It was special when it came time for them to watch their favorite TV show. Cocoa and popcorn were made, and all the sisters were in their robes and curlers. I felt so privileged that Ginnie and the sisters had included me and I finally got to see what goes on behind closed doors at a convent!

John Graham                   My favorite memory was 50 years ago when Sister Cecilia Agnes visited New Rochelle to spend time with her sister Marion (my mom) and our family. She stayed with the local order of Sisters of the Holy Family – our parish and grammar school. 

I was the coolest kid in 4th grade because I was able to visit Ginny every day inside the house…  I realized Her sisters were her family and she was truly happy. God bless Ginny. 

 Heather MacLeod  Ginnie introduced me to the world of science at an early age. She inspired me at age 8 to get my first microscope, which launched for me a love of nature and its inner workings. Because of Ginnie, there was never a disconnect in my mind that women could pursue difficult careers, get their PhDs, become professors. And she did at a time when most women were pressured to become secretaries, wives and mothers. She was a role model and a mentor, and I envied the life she lived given its vibrant community of strong, intellectually oriented women who had each other’s backs. She was a spiritual, political and intellectual support to my entire family….and whenever I encounter a Drosophila, which is more often than one might image, I can’t help but think of Ginnie fondly.  I will miss the parting “God Blesses” she sprinkled on my over my life time.

Margaret Arrix                 My favorite memories of Ginnie was when Monica and I would go to Everett to visit for a few days in the summer (we would take a Greyhound Bus).  Ginnie would take us to the beach in Nahant, trips to the Flume in New Hampshire and Sturbridge Village and especially, our visits to Brigham’s for huge sundaes after dinner!  

Monica Billeter                 My fondest memory of Ginny was when Margaret and I would go up and spend a week with her and Nana every summer. Ginny would take us on wonderful adventures from Revere Beach to the Flume in NH.  I learned so much from her. 

 Scott MacLeod                Ginnie was a great teacher, not just as a professor at Regis, but as my Aunt.  We had some great conversations when I was younger about the difference between her religious beliefs and her science background.  She was a great listener, with a gentle manner, open to different opinions and never lectured on what she believed, allowing you to think for yourself.  

My last time with Ginnie we watched the Pats game on the small TV in her room.  She loved the Patriots, and she did share that she liked Tom Brady! It was great to watch football with my then 92-year-old Aunt. 

 Patrick Graham                The first immediate thing that comes to mind is the image of Ginnie sitting quietly on the back deck (New Canaan) in the warm sun reading the New York Times or her favorite book. But my fondest memories are the countless times we spent during the holidays or over the summers (in the 80s and 90s) shooting the breeze about politics, Ireland, history, world affairs, etc. Each time she would greet me, she would ask affectionately, “How’s my favorite Democrat?”  

 Given by Heather McLeod (niece)

October 12, 2018