In In Loving Remembrance

Sister Agnes Marie Gunn

Sister Agnes Marie Gunn, a resident at Saint Joseph Villa since 2011, died there on October 19, 2018. Her funeral followed on October 24.

Born into a family of loving parents, Ernest and Agnes, Agnes and brother  Ernie, resided in Glenside.  After attending St. Luke School, Agnes attended St. Mary’s Academy, and Chestnut Hill College.

Sister Agnes entered the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1949, and received the name Sister Agnes David. She described her vocation as something that really was not her decision, but a response to God’s quiet yet persistent call.

Agnes’ life was filled with diverse, enriching experiences, moving in ministry from city, suburban, inner city, Jersey shore and the nation’s capital. In her joyful response to apostolic life, Agnes’ tender warmth and welcoming presence were blessings to all. As liaison for Sisters Education in the congregation, Agnes encouraged many sisters to stretch in their pursuit of advanced studies that would meet emerging needs.

Agnes enjoyed her years as teacher at Hallahan and West Catholic High Schools, and Chestnut Hill College. During these years, she earned Master’s  and  Doctoral Degrees in English, both from the University of Pennsylvania. She served on the General Council of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, president of the United States Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Delegate for Religious in the Archdiocese of Washington, Director of Vocations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Pastoral Immigration counselor and Delegate for Religious in the Trenton diocese. A highlight of Agnes’ long ministry was the task she undertook of editing the SSJ Constitutions. This sacred duty of editing brought into play a large and talented committee that worked on diverse pieces of this revision.

Sister Agnes was welcoming and respectful toward traumatized women refugees from Liberia. Rooted deeply in her vocation, she was nourished by daily prayer and Eucharitst, raidiating God’s love to all. Bishops and Religious with whom she worked throughout her ministry were recipients of her goodness and wisdom.

In her own words, quoting St. John of the Cross, ‘in the evening of this life, you will be judged on love.’ ”The call of the gospel in its fullness growing daily ever stronger…all have made me what I am today, a simple, grateful woman who has never lost the wonder of her call to be a Sister of Saint Joseph.”


  • Reply
    MA Patterson
    March 19, 2019 at 6:55 PM

    The first time I met S. Agnes, I rode in the back seat of a car, hitching a ride home from class. With her sat S. Dorothy Newell, S. William Augustine, such lovely, caring and happy women, sharing an afternoon. They offered to share a bottle of soda with 2 of us. Little did I know that day, the different times our paths would cross. We shared some time in St. Louis. When it was time to accrue a Master’s degree, her guidance was all that I needed. She appeared at Conwell- Egan Catholic HS, tutoring students who came from Asian countries. This time our path became one of friendship. We shared meals together on “free night”, and “how’s your day going?”, “what are you up to today?”, “need a ride?”, “gosh I’m glad you’re here”, just little quips that warm the soul. When she came to the Villa, how could I not come to visit whenever I could! Our conversations of care and concern continued. People talk about transparency today. Her life was an “open book” dedicated to God. I live in hope, that Agnes, Dottie and William met one another again and their laughter fills the kingdom of God all of us live in hope to experience. Love you, Agnes MA Patterson

  • Reply
    Jane Caldwell Adams
    December 11, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    I had the privilege of being a student of Sr. Agnes at both Hallahan High and at Chestnut Hill College. She was always there for me through the years as a friend and a mentor. I will miss her.

  • Reply
    Eileen Toroni (former Sr. Albert Therese)
    December 6, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    As a Sister of Saint Joseph, the happiest, and most spiritually enriched year of my life was spent at Saint Rose, Belmar while Sister Agnes was superior. She was the most humble, spiritual and pleasant sister I ever lived with. I am sorry I missed her death. I surely would have been among the sisters celebrating her life. The SSJ’s have lost a beautiful soul in Sister Agnes David Gunn. Rest in Peace Sister.

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