December 21, 1928 - November 18, 2021
Sister Eileen Fitzgerald (Mary William) completed 93 years full of love and service when she passed from this life to her heavenly home on November 18, 2021. Born on December 21, 1928, in Washington, D.C., Eileen was the first child of William Joseph and Mary Duffy Fitzgerald. In time, her brother William and sister Joan were added to the family, and all flourished in a setting that was actively religious and close. Her education at the parish school and Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland, introduced Eileen to the Sisters of the Holy Names, and she followed her sense of call to enter the community's novitiate in Quebec, Canada, right after high school in 1948. Sister Eileen found the language and cultural changes and separation from her dear family very difficult, "a test" she called it. With focus and faith that were at her core, Sister Eileen went off to her first mission assignment as a parish elementary grades teacher in Tampa, Fla., in 1950. She served in schools in Silver Spring, Md., and Albany, until she was asked to become the assistant to the Mistress of Novices in Rome, N.Y., where she served until 1963. Her next professional change involved becoming the principal of a young parish school in Winchester, Va. She thought that "pioneer" setting was a ripe opportunity to support the local church and advance education, too. Her own education was greatly enriched and re-directed in the years between 1969-72 when she enjoyed study at various Vatican II programs, history at Villanova University, and completed an M.S. in Religious Education at Marywood College. These experiences sent Sister Eileen on what would be decades of faith-formation teaching and administration for adults, families, and children, and other religious educators in Florida, Virginia, and Maryland. She was particularly known for making parish RCIA programs attractive and effective. She loved this work and described it as "a time of great growth for me, too." During the late 1980s, Sister Eileen felt privileged to be allowed to arrange her professional assignments so that she could help respond to the health needs of her family. The great loss of her brother, sister, and mother marked those years, but she embraced the time as a gift shared among them all and a time when her colleagues and parish communities supported her with their care and presence. In her senior years since leaving active parish service, Sister Eileen was delighted to volunteer with literacy, spiritual accompaniment, nursing home visiting and other needs to which she was called. She became frailer and asked to come to Albany, to live with the Sisters of St. Joseph in their care center to be of whatever support she could and to accompany other senior Holy Names sisters. The Carondolet community were the most loving and generous caregivers throughout Eileen's "mission" here. After years of spirited resistance to "disability," Sister Eileen made her final transition in this life to the fullness of life, no doubt eager to be back in the embrace of her dear family, but "sadly" celebrated in this parting by her religious family and many admiring relatives and friends who have stayed close to Eileen throughout her long life. A celebration of Sister Eileen's life of devotion and service will take place on Wednesday, November 24, at the chapel of the Sisters of St. Joseph Provincial House, 385 Watervliet Shaker Rd., Latham, N.Y. There will be a "time of remembering" for about an hour before the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. For those wishing to honor her memory in this manner, memorials may be sent to Sisters of the Holy Names, 1121 New Scotland Rd., Albany, NY 12208 .
Sister Eileen Fitzgerald (Mary William) completed 93 years full of love and service when she passed from this life to her heavenly home on November 18, 2021. Born on December 21, 1928, in Washington, D.C., Eileen was the first child of William... View Obituary & Service Information
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