Sister Mary Malone, CSJ

 We Remember Her
In the blowing of the wind and
in the chill of winter,

Sister Mary Malone, CSJ
(S. Mary Gerard)
October 26, 1929 – February 7, 2022

The Lord is my Shepherd; nothing shall I want. The Shepherd leads me beside still waters. Ps 23:1-2

The image of the Good Shepherd is one of gentleness, peace and compassion. These qualities describe Sister Mary Malone, who is remembered by all as a gentle and kind person.

Mary Catherine Malone was one of nine children born to Katharine and Patrick Malone. With her siblings, Mary was raised in Haverhill, in the parish of St, James. The Malone household was a short distance from the convent at St. James, so the Malone children frequently ran errands for the Sisters, establishing a strong relationship with them.

Thus, it was not surprising when Mary Malone entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, following in the footsteps of her sister, Mildred, who was known as Sister John Berchmans. A few years later Patricia joined them as Sister Katherine Patricia. The three sisters brought a variety of gifts to the congregation, including a strong love of their home parish.

Mary’s ministries began in elementary and secondary schools as a teacher.  Her ability to connect with the students is recalled in a few stories. One day Mary was asked to cover the first-grade class while the teacher, who was also the principal, tended to an emergency. It was during snack time and Mary quickly connected with the students. When the teacher returned, one young girl enthusiastically told Mary that she was the “best snacking teacher” she ever had. 

When Mary was teaching at St. James High School, she asked Sister Ann Christine if she might sit in on a typing class so that she could develop typewriting skill. True to the humble soul that she was, Mary didn’t feel awkward, sitting next to students whom she would be teaching later in the day.

Mary was renowned as a teller of stories, making the most commonplace experiences become humorous events. She had a gift for bringing joy and making people laugh. The story is told that at one time when we had three Sisters of St. Joseph ministering in different areas of New Hampshire, they decided to meet for lunch and chose to gather at Mary’s.  Mary suggested that they try a little local restaurant nearby. The “little restaurant” turned out to be a biker bar, the front room of which was occupied by well-tattooed individuals. The Sisters were conducted to the back room, which thankfully was a “little restaurant”. Mary regaled the group with stories such that their laughter could be heard throughout the restaurant, causing the bikers to marvel that these genteel women could easily lift the spirits of the patrons.

With a constant twinkle in her eye, Mary endeared herself and brought the joy and love of God to all whom she met. Like so many, Mary descended into that realm where memory is unreliable and confusion frequently masks reality. Ironically Millie and Patricia shared that experience. Being together in the memory care unit at Bethany, these three women added to the spirit of the activities of the residents. The sing-along sessions usually included the singing of the Blue and White song of St. James, sung with great gusto by the Malone sisters. Mary’s perpetual smile was an integral part of all that transpired in that community.

We bless you, Mary, for the gift of joy as manifestation of the love of God, which you so readily shared with us. All the happy memories of your presence among us will provide comfort in our loss.  Our prayer is that you now experience the eternal joy, which is your reward for a life of gentle, humble and loving fidelity to your Good Shepherd!

Given by:  Judith Costello, CSJ — February 14, 2022