Sister Eileen Haggerty, a beloved Sister of Saint Joseph for 63 years, died at Saint Joseph Villa in Flourtown, Pennsylvania on November 13, 2019. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Saint Joseph Villa on November 18. Father Steve Thorn, a former student of Sister Eileen’s was the presider.
Eileen grew up in Philadelphia. She was the eldest of three children born to Naomi and James Haggerty. Eileen and her two younger brothers Jim and Bill attended Saint Athanasius School. In her living history Eileen recalled her happy childhood and family life with her “father working hard to keep the family well and happy, and that her mother, a loving wife and mother. She loved all her family and often spoke of her “great brothers.”
It was at Little Flower High School in Philadelphia that Eileen met Sister Saint Philip Neri who became an important influence in her life. In September 1956, two years after graduating from high school, Eileen entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph. In April, 1957 she received the habit of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the religious name Sister James Naomi. In her early years in the community Eileen received education and training to be a teacher, but she also deepened her spirituality. In her living history Eileen wrote that as a novice she thought of God’s love as a “key of Love.” This image would stay with her throughout her life. As she lived the mission and the charism of the Sisters of Saint Joseph she would often reflect on how her heart was frequently opened by the “key of love.” Her spiritual journey led her deeper into the heart of God—the one she called “My Beloved.”
Eileen spent many happy years teaching in schools in Philadelphia and its suburbs, as well as in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania and Cape May County, New Jersey. She loved teaching and was happiest teaching kindergarten. In 1997 Eileen began a new ministry at Saint Joseph Villa—Director of Therapeutic Leisure. Many sisters remember her love for Bingo, and during her years of ministering in Activities at the Villa, the regular requests for small prizes so that everyone could be a winner!
We give thanks for the life of Sister Eileen Haggerty and we rejoice that God has once again opened her heart with the “key of love.” May Eileen be enjoying eternal life with her family and the Sisters of Saint Joseph who have gone before us. May she rest in peace in the arms of her Beloved.