Sister Cecilia Corbett, CSJ 
(Sister Bernadette Mary)

We Remember her
In the opening of the buds and in the 
rebirth of spring.

January 11, 1936 – March 31, 2024

In the 67th year of her Religious Life. 
Entered:  September 8, 1957

Well, did not Jesus show his love for Sister Cecilia Corbett! To be invited to her heavenly reward on Easter Sunday was not only an honor for her, but a sacred event!

On the cover of the Liturgical booklet is a statement from our Constitution. “We strive in every aspect of our lives to be for others a visible sign of God’s presence and active love.”

Entering the convent with Cecilia, both of us members of the Party of 1957, Sister Cecilia Corbett lived that statement. From her Novitiate years, Cecilia radiated her peaceful presence and gentle demeanor. Cecilia Corbett was nurtured in a large family. Her parents Francis and Margaret emigrated from Ireland and raised a family of eight children – Cecilia being the youngest of five sisters and two brothers.

In 1957, Cecilia entered the Sisters of St. Joseph and began her 67 years of service to God’s people. She taught in various schools started by the Sisters of St. Joseph as a primary school teacher. As the years progressed and Cecilia’s talents were recognized, she became a Montessori teacher serving at our Montessori Kindergarten in Haverhill. A few years later, Cecilia was missioned as a kindergarten teacher at St. Agatha’s School in Milton, where she labored for many years. Cecilia knew the value of education, and recognized the reality that the children in her class had many more years of study before they would graduate from high school. With that frame of mind, Cecilia instructed her students not only with academic learnings, but also with the values within our CSJ charism. Teaching was Sister Cecilia’s CSJ ministry, and to quote St Paul, she “helped spread the good news of love and redemption to her students.” As a prayerful woman religious Sister Cecilia knew she had to teach “those within her reach to love one another.”

When illness came upon her, Cecilia began her residence at Bethany. She joined the residents at activities and would often delight in the musical presentations, singing along with great joy. She loved the refreshments given at these events, especially the Oreo cookies, which she often requested. In her quiet moments, Cecilia felt God’s presence in her heart. Her responsiveness to people may have lessened, but Cecilia took delight in her own voiceless manner. She knew God was with her!

Those who visited Cecilia, and witnessing her gentle smile or sometimes quick responses, were enabled to acknowledge that she was a peaceful woman resting in the arms of God.

Sister Cecila loved her family! She participated in many family gatherings and provided tender support to them when it was requested or needed. Cecilia’s family loved their aunt! As her siblings and their families had previously visited Cecilia in the convent where she resided, this tradition was carried on by her nieces and nephews, who were often seen visiting their aunt at Bethany.

We, Sisters of St. Joseph, give thanks to God for the presence of Sister Cecilia Corbett (Sister Bernadette Mary) in our Congregation, sharing her tranquil personality and gentleness with us.

Cecilia, we shall never forget your gentle smile and the twinkle in your eyes.

Now, may you rest in the peace of your loving God.

Given by Gail Donahue CSJ, April 5, 2024