At the beginning of January 2016, a small committee began the work of what was initially called “The Cemetery Project.” The purpose of the project was to create a definitive record of cemeteries where Sisters of Charity of New York are buried. Congregation records show that since 1847, a span of two hundred years, 4,317 women have entered the Congregation. The committee’s work focused on those who remained and died as Sisters of Charity of New York. As the project began, the committee felt a real sense of “re-membering” each one of the women as part of the Congregation. Sisters Eileen McGrory and Dominica Rocchio joined with Sisters Maryellen Blumlein, Margaret Donegan, Jean Iannone, Helen McGovern, and Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Congregation Debbie Box, took on the monumental task in 2016.
One of the goals of the committee’s work is the formation of an electronic database for each cemetery, the name of each sister buried there, and other pertinent information for her. The first step was to collect all paper records the Congregation holds on the cemeteries where the sisters are buried. This information has been preserved over the years by sisters who worked in the Archives, by Secretaries of the Congregation, and other sisters who assisted them over time.
Congregation records show that the majority of sisters are interred in eight cemeteries: Saint Joseph, Yonkers; Calvary, Queens; Holy Cross, Brooklyn; Saint Raymond and Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx; Saint Peter, Staten Island; Saint Mary, Port Chester (Rye Brook); and Saint Agatha, Nanuet. After that, cemeteries are scattered from Tivoli to Tottenville to Port Jervis in New York State, with others in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and our missions of Bahamas and Guatemala. Records also uncovered one sister buried in California and seven in Canada.
We had a challenge ahead…and the work continues.
This essay is the first post of a new SC Legacy series.
Re- Membering Project
Sr. Mary Basil Verra SC, January 10, 1997
Buried at St. John’s Cemetery
Queens Middle Village NY
If I understand this correctly, it seems you will be re membering all those woman who entered and then left the convent. My wife’s cousin falls into that category and even though she left, she had remained quite involved with your Community, So I am happy that you are doing this not only for her but for all the great women who was once part of all of you. God Bless all of you.
Thank you so much for your contribution, Gerald.
Thanks to the committee for all your hard work and also for taking time to share your findings. Hazard yet forward!
When will the Sisters buried in Calvary be given grave markers or headstones?
It is cost prohibitive to add individual grave markers. We hope to enhance the monuments in the future.