Sister Marie Reparatrice Dougherty, MM

Born: November 15, 1899
Entered: April 5, 1929
Died: August 16 1988

During these past weeks, the Sisters here at the Center and the Staff of our Maryknoll Nursing Home saw the gradual decline of Sister Reparatrice’s physical condition. It was, therefore, not a surprise when Sister died peacefully at 3:30 in the afternoon of Tuesday, August 16, 1988, a day after we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption into heaven.

Sister Marie Reparatrice Dougherty was born November 15, 1899 at Chester, Pennsylvania. She was the first-born child of Anna and Patrick Dougherty, an Irish immigrant. At Baptism she was named “Anna Marie” after her mother. Being the eldest of five children – three boys and two girls – Anna Marie learned early in life the meaning of responsibility and helped in the raising of her younger brothers and sister. Her care and concern for family members continued through the years.

Sister Reparatrice attended St. Michael’s Grammar School and Larkin School, and graduated from Chester High School where she studied business subjects, majoring in accounting.

At age 30, and after working for eleven years as bookkeeper and secretary, Anna entered Maryknoll on April 5, 1929. At her formal Reception she received the name “Marie Reparatrice.” Sister made her First Profession of Vows on June 24, 1931, and pronounced her Final Vows three years later on June 24, 1934.

Each year after Profession she eagerly hoped and prayed for her name to be included in the list of assignments for overseas mission. Meanwhile, she dutifully and generously used her secretarial skills in The Field Afar offices until 1942, and in our Promotion Office until 1946 when the long-awaited assignment came. In October of that year she left for Riberalta, Bolivia, to be bookkeeper and secretary to the Bishop of the Vicariate of the Pando. The Sisters who lived with her at that time remember her joy of being there and, even though she minded the jungle heat, she never complained. She worked long and hard and was always willing to share her bookkeeping skills with the Sisters who had to keep books for the houses, the hospital and the schools. Sr. Reparatrice had such strong feelings about spending money and accounting for it that at times she openly admonished the Bishop and priests about it. Everyone took the reminders well, as they saw her not only as a strict taskmaster but also as a loving and generous Sister. She was also extremely interested in everything pastoral that was going on up and down the rivers and the whole of the Vicariate.

In 1955 Sister returned to the Center for her Decennial. That year, work was begun on the expansion of our Novitiate at Valley Park, Missouri, and Sister Reparatrice was asked to serve there as procurator and bookkeeper instead of returning to Bolivia. Despite her disappointment, she accepted this assignment wholeheartedly. The postulants and novices soon discovered that Sister Reparatrice could roar like a lion but also be as gentle as a lamb. She always had words of encouragement for each one and her kind-heartedness was evident in her dealings with them. Sister remained in Valley Park almost until the house was closed in early 1972. Sister was then reassigned to the Center where she joined the Staff of our Treasury Departnent, working on the Social Security, Medicare and Estate Accounts, which she handled extraordinarily well.

Sister’ s health had been generally good until December of 1980. Around that time it became necessary for her to use a wheelchair to get around. She has been a resident in our Maryknoll Nursing Home since 1981.

At this morning Liturgy we celebrate with gratitude Sister Reparatrice’s return to God whom she loved and served faithfully. After her first plane trip to Bolivia, she wrote to Mother Mary Joseph, “Up there in the sky one cannot help but meditate on the power and attributes of God.” We believe that in Heaven Sister now beholds God’s splendor and glory.

We offer our sympathy to Sister’s family and friends. We welcome them and Father John Gallagher of Maryknoll who will lead us in this Liturgy of the Resurrection for the gift of life of our Sister Marie Reparatrice Dougherty.