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OBITUARY: Sister Mary Richard Rowley, taught eight years in Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI |Sister Mary Richard Rowley, a Sister of Charity who served for eight years in the Archdiocese of Miami, died Dec. 3 in New York at the age of 95.

During her 46 years in the ministry of education, Sister Richard taught every grade in elementary school, and religion and history on the high school level. She even helped to counsel people shaken by the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Sister Mary Richard Rowley served at St. Sebastian Church, Fort Lauderdale.

Photographer: Courtesy

Sister Mary Richard Rowley served at St. Sebastian Church, Fort Lauderdale.

Born Jan. 16, 1922 in Manhattan as Margaret Mary, she was the sixth of eight children — four daughters and four sons — of John and Mary O’Connor Rowley. Margaret attended St. Alphonsus School and Cathedral High School, both in Manhattan.

For a few years she worked in the government division of the railroads that routed U.S. troops throughout the country during World War II. She then entered the Sisters of Charity of New York on Sept. 7, 1945.

Sister Richard earned a bachelor's degree in history from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Most of her work was in New York -- not only New York City but Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Kisco and Wappingers Falls.

After retiring from education, she became a volunteer in parish ministry, working in the food pantry of Immaculate Conception Parish on Staten Island, and preparing students for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In 2001, she and another sister witnessed fallout from the 9-11 terrorist attack from Immaculate Conception. For weeks afterward, the two went to the waterfront each day, praying and crying with traumatized people. "Never before have I realized the impact the presence of a Sister of Charity could bring," Sister Richard said.

From 2004 to 2012, she moved to Fort Lauderdale to assist with pastoral ministry at St. Sebastian Parish. She then returned to New York in 2012 to live at the Convent of Mary the Queen in Yonkers. Two years later, she retired with a group of sisters at Kittay House, a group of senior apartments in the Bronx.

A wake for Sister Mary Richard is scheduled for 2 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Mount Saint Vincent Convent in the Bronx, with prayer vigil at 4:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial is planned for the convent at 10 a.m. the next day.

Burial will at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y.

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