Written on: September 3, 2019
Sr. Ann Bernadette Harron was remembered for her loving ways and leadership qualities at her funeral Liturgy on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, delivered the following reflection on her life, with many thanks for her help to Sister Frances William, who entered the GNSH with Sr. Ann Bernadette.
Sister Ann Bernadette Harron was born and baptized Rita Dolores Harron. She was the daughter of Daniel and Anne Cusack Harron. Sister had 7 siblings: 5 girls and 2 boys. Both her parents and her sisters and brothers have all predeceased her. Sister Ann Bernadette, however, has been blessed with several nieces and nephews and their families.
A native of Philadelphia, Sister was born on August 27, 1926. She celebrated her 93rd birthday just a few days before her death.
Sister Ann Bernadette was the youngest in her family of eight children. After graduating from Little Flower High School and having been influenced by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart who taught there, especially Sr. Mary Sheila, she entered the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. After a few years, she would become Sr. Ann Bernadette, known for having many talents, particularly in the areas of sewing and very creative crafts.
Later, Sr. Ann Bernadette was recognized as a person who did all things well and who tried to see every task as an opportunity to use her gifts as well as she could, to recognize others’ needs and to help them whenever possible.
Sr. Ann Bernadette developed a strong relationship with God and grew in her knowledge of, and fondness for, St. Marguerite d’Youville. Sister was known for her generous spirit and willingness to help, no doubt emulating Marguerite’s own spirit.
Everything Sr. Ann Bernadette did, she wanted to do with perfection. She became a model teacher, beloved by students and their parents. Sister had a special gift for focusing on each student, comprehending what he or she needed, and addressing the need with satisfaction.
It was her unique gift to understand each student and to find a way to connect.
Her teaching years were spent in the New York area at Blessed Sacrament and St. Joan of Arc. In Buffalo, at Holy Angels School; in Atlanta, GA at St. Pius X High School, and in Philadelphia at Melrose Academy, Bishop McDevitt High School, at her alma mater Little Flower High School for Girls, and Mother of Divine Providence elementary school. At all of these schools she became known for her kindness and generosity, and for her outstanding talent as a teacher. Nothing pleased her more than sharing her love of teaching and the methods which she engaged with younger teachers, particularly younger Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart.
Her humor, warmth and beautiful smile made her approachable by students, parents and aspiring teachers.
After teaching successfully, there was a great change in her ministry. Sr. Ann Bernadette became an Administrative Assistant in the Chemistry Department at St. Joseph’s University for 26 years. Although she was not teaching in a high school or elementary school, she was able to be in an academic setting and work among others who were devoted to Catholic education. Sr. Ann Bernadette loved it, every person involved and every moment she spent there. As she attempted to do everything in her past with perfection, she engaged herself in her new responsibilities with the same attitude. She even found that she could continue to learn new tasks to accommodate those with whom she worked. Sister surprised all her associates when she learned to conquer shorthand. Soon Sr. Ann Bernadette became known as the “finest secretary” at St. Joseph’s.
There was nothing that she did that was done halfway.
In spare time, Sister helped others with their sewing, made gifts for sisters’ relatives and for various occasions and spent time listening to classical music. She enjoyed many beautiful occasions at the shore with her sister Isabelle, which gave her moments of great pleasure. Sister also loved the theatre and enjoyed “Phantom of the Opera” not once, but several times. Sr. Ann Bernadette could sew, crochet and do crafts to perfection. She was known for always working on something!
Possibly, what helped to make Sr. Ann Bernadette so sweet and beloved was her love for chocolate and her regular consumption of it, in any form, candy, cookies, ice cream- anything chocolate. Probably, though , it was her indomitable spirit of faith in God, leading her to generous, loving service of all God’s people and her enthusiastic desire to care for all those in any need as St. Marguerite d’Youville did that kep her so dedicated and so joyful in embracing God’s plan for her.
May she be rejoicing in God’s heavenly embrace!
Sister Ann Bernadette Harron, GNSH, 93, died peacefully on August 30, 2019 She was born on August 27, 1936 and entered the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1944. She recently celebrated her 75th Jubilee.
A graduate of Little Flower High School, she received a BS/Ed from D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY and an MA from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
A lifelong educator, she spent 60 years in faculty or administrative positions. Her years in ministry included Blessed Sacrament (1946-49) and St. Joan of Arc (1968-74 Principal), Jackson Heights and Holy Angels School (1949-50), Buffalo, NY. She spent 6 years in Atlanta, GA (1958-64) at St. Pius X High School. In the Philadelphia area she taught at Melrose Academy (1950-58, 1974-76, 1980-82); Bishop McDevitt (1964-65); Little Flower (1965-68) and Mother of Divine Providence (1976-80 Principal). In 1982 she became Secretary, and later Administrative Assistant, in the Chemistry Department at St. Joseph’s University, where she worked for 26 years. In 2008 she retired to the Motherhouse in Yardley, PA where she engaged in Intracommunity service. In 2014 she moved to St Joseph Manor where she lived until the time of her death.
A native Philadelphian, Rita Dolores Harron was born to Daniel J. and Anne (Cusack) Harron, one of 6 girls and 2 boys. Predeceased by her parents and 7 siblings; Daniel, Thomas, Mary Cassidy, Mildred Gass, Nan Lyons, Eleanor Walsh and Isabel Gillespie, she is survived, in addition to her religious congregation, by several nieces and nephews.
Viewing: Saturday, September 14th at 9:30 a.m.
Redeemer Sisters Chapel
521 Moredon Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Sharing of Memories: at 10:15 a.m. prior to Mass
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m.
Interrment: Resurrection Cemetery
Memorial contributions to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, in Sr. Ann Bernadette’s memory are deeply appreciated. Donations may be mailed to The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, 14500 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19116. Secure online donations may be made here.
Funeral arrangements by Beck/Givnish, Inc.