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By Lorraine Cooper, SC

Sr. Mary Edward ZipfAs a child, Sr. Mary Edward suffered several hardships. Her baby sister died eight days after she was born and her mother died a year later when she was only three. Sickness was a constant in her family, so fun and light-heartedness were a must. She grew up wanting to be a doctor and “help those hurting and needing comfort.”

She met the Sisters of Charity at St. Francis of Assisi School, Mt. Kisco, and entered the community hoping to be sent to study nursing. Providence intervened and placed her in the second grade at Holy Trinity School. At that time, many of the students were from struggling families of Cuban or Puerto Rican descent. This experience of teaching and working with the other Sisters to reach out to those living in poverty made her realize that education was her love and continued to be from then on.

In later years she was sent to study for her PhD in micro-biology at the University of Maryland where she was very grateful to be interacting with such a diversity of people. Many were searching for meaning and weighed down by life’s challenges. Her experience opened her to the goodness in their many different perspectives.

In her forty-six years teaching at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she fulfilled her desire to be with people—whether students, faculty, employees, or Sisters—in encounters that enabled her to grow closer to God, herself, and to others in their daily joys and struggles. She can still fulfill her desire of long ago, “to help the hurting and those needing comfort.” And she still delights everyone around her with her humor and style.