Sister Winifred Anne Tormey died February 22, 2020. Her Mass of Christian Burial on March 2nd in Saint Joseph Villa Chapel commemorated a life “toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction. “ Preface of the Constitutions of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.”
Parents John F. Tormey and Helen M. Callahan rejoiced in the birth of their daughter Win on December 12, 1934. Saint Francis of Assisi Church and School on Logan Street in Philadelphia were the sites of her Baptism and education. Graduating from Little Flower Catholic High School in 1952, Win was “guided by Saint Therese’s spirituality of simple, loving service,” an insight that permeated her religious life and contributed to her decision to enter the Sisters of Saint Joseph in September of the same year. At her Reception Win received the name Sister John Michael.
Throughout her education, Sister Winifred studied assiduously, a trait that served her well in the twenty-seven years she spent as teacher and principal in the dioceses of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Harrisburg. In 1981 Sister began her parish ministry in New Jersey, beginning in Saint Rose of Lima, Short Hills, and other parishes in the northern part of the state. As youth minister and pastoral associate she worked selflessly and lovingly. She was described as “wonderful and kind.” Sister once attested to her innate zeal,” I would like to work with runaways and … throwaways.” That was in 1985 some years prior to the heightened awareness of the needs of the marginalized and immigrants.
In 1992 Sister Winifred served on the Synod Planning Committee for the Archdiocese of Newark and received the Papal Honor of the Cross by Pope Saint John Paul II. Its letter of commendation reads, “I am sure that the trust placed in you will give you the confidence to continue to serve the Church and the people of God with distinction.”
It is with joy and gratitude that we celebrate the life of Sister Winifred Anne Tormey who was “called to the radical following of Jesus, in mission and for mission,” who was “drawn to be with Christ who dwells in the midst of people and who lives wholly for them.” Constitutions – Evangelical Counsels It is with joy and gratitude that we commend her for all eternity to the loving embrace of the God she served so well in others.