Sister Colleen Marie was born in Detroit, Minnesota, and entered Carmel on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1952. Her formation years were in the States but after the Final profession, she was assigned to St Lucia in response to her request to serve on the missions. They were hard but happy years as it was a joy for her to work with the poor and the elderly. In 1973 She was assigned to our Children’s Home in Kirby Muxloe, Leicester. Apart from one year on the General Council in Trinidad, the remainder of her life was in England.
Sister was responsible for the care of the boys with whom she formed strong bonds even taking one of them on her home visit to America. When Leicester City Council changed its Child Care policy and closed the Children’s Homes the Community moved to Sheffield where they were responsible for a small parish. Sr Colleen was responsible for the care of the Church which was always immaculate but her main work was in the Diocesan Drop-In Centre which she loved. The Centre was vibrant with many facilities, she enjoyed caring for and meeting people, particularly feeding them. Later she was to work in the Pastoral Centre manning the kitchen and welcoming people to the Centre.
The Sisters stayed there fifteen years but as the work became too much for them they transferred to Birmingham to lighter duties. They lived in the same street as the parish Church which made it easier for Sister to slip across the road to help. It is a very active parish with activities for the elderly and any of the locals who wished were welcome.
Sister Colleen Marie enjoyed the weekly bingo sessions, the Monday Club with its weekly lunch, the SVP, and visiting the housebound nearby.
After a series of falls and illnesses, Sister came to York to be cared for. She was never able to go out unaccompanied but she did enjoy her outings, especially trips and holidays. For eight years she took part in everything we did but heart failure took its toll and for the last two years of her life, she was confined to bed. This was not wasted time, each day she would sit upright and follow her own routine. The mornings were spent in various forms of prayer. Her novenas and devotions to the angels and saints were lifelong, Sisters, family, friends, and those who needed her intercession were prayed for daily.
She enjoyed coloring in her picture books and listening to music on the radio. Her room was downstairs, facing the front door, looking out on the main road. She liked to see what was going on and kept us abreast with “street news” Sister kept in touch with everyone she met. Whenever she received a card or letter it was answered immediately. Birthdays were remembered and, of course, Christmas was top of the list. She was preparing for that feast months before, she loved to give. This was an excuse for another favorite activity, shopping, mostly in charity shops which she could not resist. And so it continued until the last week of her life. Her death was peaceful and she was able to tell everyone how much she loved them and thanked them. May she rest in peace.