Sister Godfrey Fuhr, MM
Born: February 14, 1914
Entered: December 6, 1930
Died: October 20, 1992
At 10:10 a.m., October 20, 1992, Sister Mary Godfrey Fuhr passed from life here with us to life in eternity. Her passing was quiet, accompanied by some of her dear Maryknoll Sister friends, Community members and health care staff, while the Salve Regina was sung. Godfrey long had devotion to Mater Admirabilis and cared for that shrine on the third floor of the Main Building, often buying flowers for the shrine while she saw that all was in suitable condition. Such devotion was rewarded as she was released from this life into the presence of God and Mater Admirabilis, whose feast was commemorated on the 20th! Sister Godfrey was 78 when she died.
Godfrey was born Elizabeth Fuhr on February 14, 1914, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father, Joseph, and mother, Elizabeth Helbing, her two brothers and one sister have all preceded Godfrey. She attended commercial courses at Peabody High School for three and a half years, but did not graduate.
Godfrey heard about Maryknoll through literature and friends. When she was 16 years old, she was a catechism teacher in several coal mining towns in the Pittsburgh area. When she shared her desire to be a religious Sister with the supervisor of the catechetical program, her friend challenged her: “Why don’t you go the whole way and become a missionary?” Evidently, that was just the challenge she needed and Godfrey said, “I want to go the whole way.” In 1930 she entered Maryknoll and completed high school at the Venard. First Vows were taken on June 24, 1933, and Final Vows, also at Maryknoll, the same day in 1936. During 1934-1935, Godfrey attended the Maryknoll Teacher Training School courses in education.
Godfrey was assigned to Korea in 1938, but went to work in Fushan, Manchuria, with the Japanese people. In 1940 Godfrey was reassigned to Korea. At Christmas 1941, Godfrey was interned in Yeng You, Korea, and was repatriated in mid-June 1942. The trip to Maryknoll took two months.
From 1942-1959, Godfrey worked at The Field Afar magazine office, Creighton House and the Motherhouse. For a year (1949) she did catechetical work in Stockton and then was a receptionist in 1950 at our Monrovia sanatorium. In 1959 Godfrey went to Lucena in the Philippines where she was involved with the choir and the school canteen.
She returned in 1964 to live at Bethany and later, the Center. During all those years Godfrey worked in the Graphic Arts Department until 1989 when she asked to retire. Godfrey was known over those many years to have creativity, perseverance and skills in the printing work. In particular, members of the Development Department found her to be a great help, not only through her skills, but because of her cooperation and promptness.
Sister Godfrey lived what she said. She usually found ways to help others and to be of service in many thoughtful ways. Continuously, throughout the years, many of our members note Sister Godfrey to be a beautiful religious; she called forth the admiration of many. Those of us at the Center will long remember the sight of Godfrey on her motor scooter, greeting us with a beautiful smile that lit up her face. When Godfrey celebrated her Golden Jubilee, she said, “The growth and change may affect the externals of religious commitment, but down deep my relationship with Christ, doesn’t change; it deepens.” In Godfrey’s later days, she would frequently say, “Believe in God’s love for us.” In fact, when asked what her last desire for Maryknoll Sisters would be, it was that: “Believe in God’s love for us.” We pray that we may indeed grow in the belief of God’s love for us. We thank God for the person of Sister Godfrey, her membership in Community and, finally, her peaceful release from suffering.
Together with all our Maryknoll members here today, with our celebrant, Maryknoll Father Al Ryan, we joyfully take part in the Eucharistic celebration of the Resurrection.