Sister Mary Denis Woods- 70th Jubilee

Written on: April 19, 2015

Sister Mary Denis WoodsJackson Heights, New York, was the birthplace of Sister Mary Denis Woods and where she ministered for many of the years of her religious life.  She followed the path of her older sister, Sister Michael Marie, and entered the congregation.  She was followed by her younger sister, Sister Mary Terence, who died at a young age.  But for a time, there were three Woods sisters as Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart.  Sister Mary Denis is tall of stature and large of heart. She is best known as Principal of St. Leo School, Corona, New York, where she spent almost half of her fifty-six years in the ministry of education.  She also served as Principal of St. Canicus School in Mahanoy City and Our Lady of the Assumption School in Stratford, both in Pennsylvania.  After leaving St. Leo’s in 1992, she stayed in the Queens, NY, area where with her sister, Sister Michael Marie, she spent time in outreach to the neighborhood.  When the Grey Nuns left Blessed Sacrament Convent in 2003, Sister Mary Denis and her sister both retired to the Motherhouse.  One of her almost daily activities is leading the rosary with the residents of Holy Redeemer D’Youville Manor.  Her mail box often holds letters from former students who remember her. Her nieces and their families are frequent visitors at the Motherhouse.

Each day is a gift from God.  During my seventy years as a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart, I have tried to use this gift by caring for and serving people in their needs.  As a daughter of Marguerite d’Youville, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to serve in the mission of education for fifty-six years and for the many years when I brought Communion to the homebound.  My life as a Grey Nun has been blessed in so many ways.  My first blessing was my parents who permitted their three oldest daughters to enter the Grey Nuns.  Among my blessings has been journeying with my sister, Sister Michael Marie, for so many years.  Today my life is blessed with a loving, caring family who visit often. My 70th Jubilee is a time to thank God for all the opportunities that He has provided in the missions where I served.  I thank God for the gift of each day and trust in Divine Providence for the days yet to come.

42 thoughts on “Sister Mary Denis Woods- 70th Jubilee

  1. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary denis its frank silletti i graduated from st leo’s school with a 2.7 grade point average b will be missed.

  2. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary denis,frank silletti i liked the idea if a student had to go to the bathroom in the school the kid had to ask the teacher first.There was no talking during class time,lunch time yes but class time no.

  3. frank silletti says:

    Dear sister mary denis,frank i remember the plant sale in the cafetaria i went too during class hours the teacher let me and i bought a plant there. the bake sale they had,the raffels they had there it was nice.The students birthday’s in the classroom there was a party.with cupcakes and soda.The Christmas raffel every year each student won a prize at christmas time in the classroom.The arts and crafts class in the school was 4th grade every student had to learn to play a brown plastic flute it was nice.Learing the times table in the 4th grade was also nice.Playing outside recess in front of the school after lunch for 15 minutes was nice.

  4. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary denis,frank i remember to enter the school st leo’s i had to pass an I.Q test and i did at 6 years old.

  5. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary denis,frank silletti i was baptized at st leo’s church.

  6. frank silletti says:

    Dear sister mary denis,frank silletti i remember going to church there with the class during school hours with one teacher and said mass there.I took confession with the other kids,took the bread from the priest in my hand and went back to the pew and said prayers.

  7. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister Mary denis,frank silletti i remember one of my teachers name was had 8 teachers for 8 different classes.i remember going outside in the cold weather in the winter in gym clothes because there was a fire drill at the school just my white t shirt,blue shorts,white socks,and white sneakers.

  8. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary denis,frank silletti i remember in gym class i did jumping jacks to warm up than the class played games like dodgeball and wiffleball.I remember the school put on school plays in the autoturium during class i attended with the students there.I did each lunch in the cafetraria there for a short time than i came home for lunch.i remember the navy blue st’leo school bag i bought there. i really liked it.The field days i went too at flushing meadow park and the school trips i went on with the school on the big yellow school bus to hadyen planteriam in manhattan and the united nations in manhattan new york with the kids.

  9. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis its frank silletti thank you for sending me home at lunch time there at st leo’s school and i came back to school at the end of lunch break. i remember every student had 30 minutes for lunch and the every wednesday school ending at 11:45am.I gave at st leo’s church mass payments for school.You will be missed.I remember the 8 classes i had there everyday and the 2 homerooms i attended,the school uniform i wore there for 8 years,the 2 hours of homework i did every night,the studing for tests i did the S.A.T’s I passed and the regents exams i passed there.With 39 kids in each teacher to each class.I had to be fast i did it.

  10. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister mary Denis its frank silletti.I made my first holy communion there in the first grade and my conformation there in the 7th grade and my graduation there in the 8th grade my conformation name is john my full name is frank peter john silletti.thank you.

  11. frank silletti says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis its frank silletti I was one of the students at St Leo’s school back in the 1980’s.I remember you was very tall maybe 7 feet tall.You was a nun the principal at st leo’s school.I am 51 years old now a graduate at that school.Thank you for all the effort you put in that school.Frank silletti.

  12. frank Silletti says:

    Sister Mary Dennis thank you for the Gold coin of Pope John Paul 2 the black rosery beeds the black bible and selling salted pretzles sticks for 25 cents each every wednesday.

  13. George Karetsky says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis,
    Congratulations on your 70th !! you were and still are an inspiration. Thank you for the discipline and wisdom you imparted on me as well as all your students.. It was a most memorable 7th grade at St. Canicus , one which I will always cherish. Thank you again for all an may God keep you healthy.

  14. Kathy (Karetsky) Yuditsky says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis,

    I have thought of you so often over the years since I was a student at St. Canicus. I still use the beautiful rosary you gave me upon graduation. God bless you and thank you for all the wisdom you passed on to your students.

  15. Diane Falvo says:

    Congratulations Sister Mary Denis! I graduated from St. Leo’s School in 1976 after having relocated to Corona only s few years prior. Your strong presence in the school always gave me a sense of security at a time when my life was in transition. From the first day I began at St. Leo’s I instinctively felt I was in good hands despite my new surroundings. I will always remember you, and I thank you for your influence on my young life. May God continue to bless you with good health and happiness always.

  16. Shane McAteer says:

    Sister Mary Denis you were a good kind woman who had a profound effect on my life. It has been more than a few years since I graduated from St. Leo’s and I stil think of you whenever I am in the area. I could never properly thank you for all that you did for my family and me. I will miss you.

  17. ERIN MC ATEER says:

    Leave it to one of the McAteer’s to be late on this one…God Bless you Sister. You saved our hides in more ways than you could ever imagine. Thanks for your years of service. Sorry that we gave you so much trouble. Especially my Dad taken pictures at Mass for ALL of our Sacraments. You just gota laugh at that one. Never went to mass, but when he did he always got in hot water with you! Love Always, THE MC ATEERS

  18. Joan Kastner says:

    Congratulations! You have touched so many lives.

    I so enjoyed working for you at St. Leo’s school. I was welcomed by you, and had your support for the five years I was with you. You inspired me to return to school for my Doctorate. You were a wonderful role model.

    Whenever anyone asks me why I pursued the Doctorate I tell them that it was Sister Mary Denis who noted that I had returned to school to earn some credits toward a pay raise and she said,”Why not go for a more advanced degree? The more you learn the more you’ll bring to the children of St. Leo’s”. I know you might not remember this conversation but it was very important to me.

    I don’t know if you still check this site, but I hope so. Joan Kastner

  19. Grace Sallemi says:

    Sr. Mary Denis. Many Blessings as you celebrate your 70th Jubilee +1. Thank you for your kindnesses and your strictness. The times you allowed me to enjoy the privilege and comfort of helping at Convent are very special to me. You were a formidable constant in my life at St. Leo. I think of you often and apply some of the principles you taught me, not only in words, but deeds. Thank you.
    I have five wonderful daughters, Alyssa-Marie, Victoria, Liana, Natasha, and Alyxandra. I also have a granddaughter Trynity-Rose. They know of you also. I know God’s hand of favor is always upon you. Love, Grace (Jacqueline. I found my family.)

  20. mina lippolis says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis, I’m a St. Leo graduate. My name is Mina Lippolis, I graduated in’82. I have many memories of you. I used to live on 48th ave. After I graduated St.Agnes I moved to Italy. I came to know of your70th jubelee from friends through facebook. I have fond memories of you. My years at St. Leo’s have been the best!! Congratulations!!!

  21. Diane Vetrano Mavigl9a says:

    Dear sister Mary Dennis
    Congratulations on your 70th jubilee I am a graduate of St Leo’s class of ’72 these were great years!

  22. Michael Raab says:

    Congratulations Sister, I know you remember me, I was a frequent guest in your office at St. Leo’s. Ha. I’ll never forget the time one of my genius friends decided to tie my tie so tight around my neck after school, and I couldn’t get it off. You ran out of your office and got it off. You might have saved my life that day. Thank you and God bless you. They don’t make them like you anymore.

  23. Palmira Fernandez Giordano says:

    I was a student of yours at St. Leo’s. Have many fond memories of my years there.
    Congratulations on your 70 Jubilee

  24. Richard Postiglione says:

    Congratulations Sister. I am a 1958 graduate of St Leo school along with Sister Pat Connolly. I remember when you and Sister Mary Terence came to St Leo. Many happy memories of my years in Corona and St Leo. I am also a cousin of Maryann Iovino who once taught at St Leo. God bless you on this happy occasion.

  25. Marilyn Clem-Talamo says:

    Dear Sr. Mary Denis, Congratulations on your 70th Jubilee. You were Principal at St. Leo when my younger siblings, Dolores, Marie and Arthur attended St. Leo. I had graduated from St. Leo in 1970 , but while in high school you gave me the opportunity to tutor in the school. Well I have gone full circle and am back teaching at St. Leo. Thank you for being an inspiration. God Bless you from the Clem Family


    wishing you congratulations on your 70th jubilee god bless

  27. John Minichini says:

    I was a student at St. Leo’s School from 1968-1976, the Bicentennial Class!

  28. John Minichini says:

    Congratulations, Sister Mary Dennis. I was a student at St. Leo’s School from 1968-1976. God Bless.

  29. Christine Laino says:

    Many congratulations on your 70th jubilee. Thank you for honoring your vocation and giving back so much to the community over the years. Your impact has been grand in ways that can not be measured. Providing a solid education, discipline and instilling core values is priceless. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

  30. Terry Young DelBalso says:

    Hello Sister Mary Denis,

    I can’t tell you how often I have wanted to write to you. You were such a big part of my childhood at St. Leo’s and I was very fortunate to have your friendship even after graduation. Through so many moments I have thought of you. Congratulations on your 70th Jubilee!! Terry

  31. Marianne Pizzo/Anderson says:

    Congratulations Sister Mart Denis on your 70th Jubilee. I am a former student of St Leo’s School and have many fond memories of my years there in Glee Club. God Bless

  32. Mildred Tavarez says:

    Hello Sister Mary Denis,
    I was your student at St.leo’s School and I also cleaned your office with Mrs. Ruffalo .
    Congratulations on your 70th Jubilee. I have never forgotten all the short cuts you taught me in Math. You are the best!!!
    Many blessings!

  33. Louis Bartolo says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis,

    Congratulations on your great achievement.
    I want to thank you for all your hard work keeping me on the straight and narrow growing up. I hated it at the time but now realize i owe much of my success to you. Your hard work helped make me a success today.

    Thank you
    Lou Bartolo
    St Leo class of 84

  34. Isabel M Franco-Ketcham says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! May God continue to bless you. Remembering all the good times from St. Leo School, Corona, NY ♡♡♡

  35. Maryellen Picchiello-Ruggiero says:

    Dear Sr. Mary Denis,
    I have very nice memories of you from St. Leo’s and my childhood in Corona.
    I am thrilled to hear about your 70th Jubilee….
    May God continue to bless you and with good health and happiness!

  36. Camille DiGiacomo-belesi says:

    congratulations Sister Mary Dennis!!
    My name is Camille DiGiacomo , I’m a graduate of St.Leo’s School! God Bless You!!!!

  37. Debra DiGiacomo says:

    What a wonderful story. Thank you Sister Mary Denis for all you have done. You were my principal at St. Leo’s in the early 70’s. God Bless you!

  38. Maria Stillisano says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis, my name is Maria Stillisano my sister Silvana Stillisano and I were students at St.Leo’s i was of graduate of the 1982 class. I want to thank you for all the generosity and kindness you showed my sister, myself and my mother in times of need. I hope you are doing well. We always speak of you and the wonderful times at St.Leo with great teachers like Mrs. Campo. Be well and please keep in touch if you can.

  39. Sandra Robayo (Marra) says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis, I went to and graduated St. Leo’s School in Corona, Queens, NY and remember you fondly. You were an inspiration to me. I want to congratulate you on making 70 years as a nun. May God bless you always. I would like to one day meet you again, and would love for you to meet my son Matthew. Please keep in touch. Love Sandra

  40. Karina Velarde says:

    Dear Sister Mary Dennis, I along with my twin sister Karla we were your students at St. Leo. You always referred to us as the “Velarde twins”. Congratulations on your 70th Jubilee. I have fond memories from my years at St. Leo. May God continue to bless you with health and happiness. – Karina Velarde

  41. MaryLou Wellington Henninger says:

    Dear Sister Mary Denis, I was one of your students at St. Canicus. Congratulations on celebrating your 70th Jubilee. I remember you very fondly! God bless.

  42. Paul Coombe says:

    During Christmas week of 1961, I helped Sr. Mary Denis by delivering Christmas gifts to people in Mahanoy City. I wasn’t wearing a hat on a cold December day. When I returned to the convent after making a delivery, Sister gave me a gift wrapped in Christmas tissue paper- a warm hat. I’ve never forgotten Sr. Mary Denis’s act of kindness. Years later I became principal of Holy Family School in Frackville, PA.

    God Bless You Sister during your 70th Jubilee Year.

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