Sister Rose Teresa McCullough, MM

Born: December 4, 1896
Entered: December 23, 1930
Died: November 21, 1984

Sister Rose Teresa died early Wednesday morning, November 21, 1984.

Sister Rose Teresa was born December 4, 1896 in Wilmington, Delaware, the third oldest in a family of ten. She attended St. Paul’s Elementary and Commercial schools in Wilmington. After finishing school she helped with the large family at home, always keeping in mind her desire to become a religious.

Sister Rose Teresa spent a few years with the Cloistered Dominican Sisters at Hunt’s Point before entering Maryknoll on December 23, 1930 at the recommendation of Monsignor Nelson, the Vicar for Religious at that time. She was forever grateful to Mother Mary Joseph for this consideration. In a note written to Mother Mary Columba Tarpey she said, “I have always been so indebted to Mother Mary Joseph for allowing me to come to Maryknoll, and for keeping me here.” In Sister Rose Teresa Mother saw someone who could play a significant role in the beginnings of the Cloister which was to be a new venture in Maryknoll. Sister was professed after one year of novitiate in order to be ready to enter the Cloister at its inception in 1932. Her experience in the Dominican Contemplative Community was immensely helpful in the beginning of our own Cloister. She made her contribution in a way that was expressive of her own humility, and always secured a background role for herself. This was characteristic of her whole life in community marked as it was by utter simplicity and poverty of spirit.

Sister Rose Teresa was a great community person. She had an evident love for her Sisters that was sensitive and thoughtful. The garden held a great attraction for her which she described in this way, “It is working with the Lord. We can help in a way but only God can make things grow with the seeds we put in the ground.”

Her faithful presence was always to be counted on in prayer, in work and in recreation. She had her favorite charities, the chief of which was gathering supplies for Dorothy Day who became a loving friend of the Cloister over the years.

Sister Rose Teresa spent fifty-two years in the Cloister – the last two in the Nursing Home at Maryknoll. Probably nothing harder was asked of her than to leave her home in the Cloister after 50 years; but the acceptance and surrender to this reality made her a witness of peace and outgoing love in her new environment.

Sister was always conscious of her dedication to mission and her concern for all of our missioners. It is especially significant and beautiful that the General Assembly delegates should be present here today. For those of us at the Cloister, Sister Rose Teresa was an outstanding witness of the meaning and charism of the Cloister.

Sister Rose Teresa made her first vows on June 25, 1932 and pronounced her final vows June 25, 1935.

We are happy to have with us this morning as our Celebrant of this Eucharistic Liturgy of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, Father Robert E. Sheridan of Maryknoll, also a pioneer and good friend of the Cloister.