Biographies

Sister Bernadette O'Connor, MM

Born: May 31, 1912
Entered: December 7, 1935
Died: April 18, 1994

With the early morning sun streaming into her room on April 18th, two weeks after celebrating the feast of Easter, Sister M. Bernadette O’Connor slipped unexpectedly and peacefully into her eternal rest with God. Sister had spent over 58 years of her life as a Maryknoll Sister. On several occasions, Sister had made the request that no eulogy or appreciation letter be read at her funeral. We wish to honor this request, so at this time will share only the Community letter that is written for all Maryknoll Sisters at the time of their death.

Mary Bernadette O’Connor was born on May 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, New York, one of the three children of Margaret Rose Mathews and James O’Connor. She graduated from St. Jerome Elementary School and Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn. After attending Ellsworth Business School in New York City, Mary Bernadette worked at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company until her entrance to Maryknoll in 1935.

At the time of her Reception into the Community she received the religious name of Sister Maura Bernadette, made her First Profession in 1938 and two years later, in 1940, was assigned to the Philippine Islands. Sister supervised the students in residence at St. Mary’s Hall, Manila, and it was here she made her Final Profession on June 30, 1941. Soon after that, in 1942, Sister was interned in Los Banos Camp with forty-six other Maryknoll Sisters until they were repatriated three years later.

Upon returning to the United States at the end of the war, Sister M. Bernadette earned her Bachelors of Education at Maryknoll Teachers College and gave clerical service in the Maryknoll Fathers’ offices until 1957. Sister then began her teaching career, first in Hawaii and then in Hong Kong. In 1970, Sister received an Masters of Arts in Asian Studies from Seton Hall University, after which she gave service here at the Center until her retirement in 1985. In February 1994, after hospital care, Sister moved to the Residential Care Facility and there spent the remaining days of her life.

Today we welcome to this Liturgy of the Resurrection, Sister’s family and friends. We extend our sympathy to each one and are honored that they are able to be with us today. We also welcome our brother, Father Jerry McCrane, as Celebrant of our Eucharistic Celebration.