Written on: November 29, 2017
Frank Cappelli, GNSHA was one of the earliest members of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Associate program. Frank passed away on August 20, 2017 and his life was celebrated at a Memorial Mass held at Holy Redeemer Lafayette on August 26.
Following is a brief account of Frank’s life from GNSH Associate, Janet Friedman.
Frank once told me the origin of his devotion to St. Marguerite. In middle grades at St. Katherine of Siena Grade School, he had a severe stutter. He dreaded his speech class assignment, but chose to do the life of St. Marguerite. As he stood before the class, barely able to get the first sentence out, he felt a warmth permeating his whole body. When it passed, he resumed his effort to give the speech, but now he could read through it with complete ease. He realized that the intense warmth was the sign of a healing by St. Marguerite.
After high school, Frank join the U. S. Navy and served in the Vietnam War. This is a period of his life that he rarely shared with the GNSH Associates. Instead of causing bitterness, his spiritual life intensified.
Frank was a devout Catholic and always engaged in outreach with others of like mind. In 1984, he and four others, petitioned the Grey Nuns of Montreal to become Associates. Marge Oliver, Eleanor Scholz, Gertrude Mezner and Frank began Grey Nun Associates of Montreal meetings in January of 1985. They met at the Little Sisters of the Poor, 5300 Chester Ave, Philadelphia. They focused on services to the elderly, the homeless, AIDS victims, prison services and Eucharistic Ministry.
In 1991, this group of Grey Nun Associates of Montreal, transferred their membership to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in Yardley, PA.
Frank and his group participated with the Yardley Associates for commitment services. Frank’s small group carried on their compassionate service wherever it was needed. Eventually, due to death and old age, the group dwindled down to Frank, and Liz Abrams.
Frank retired from the U. S. Social Security Office then dedicated his days to social justice work. In these last years, Frank, and GN Associate, Liz Abrams carried on serving at the Little Sisters of the Poor, and St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia. Frank attended Mass each day at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Center City Philadelphia. His life truly reflected the charism of St. Marguerite: to serve whoever was in need with compassion.
Compiled by Janet Friedman; based on Frank’s photo album, his obituary, and personal stories.