Sister Dorothy L. Tracey (formerly Sister Joseph Laurene) died on April 12, 2020.
There was a memorial service for Sister Joseph, followed by her burial in the congregational cemetery.
Dorothy was born on May 29, 1933 to Joseph Tracey and Laura Massey Tracey. She was the youngest of 10; Joseph, Catherine, Thomas, Charles, Marie, Virginia, Sarah and Laura; William died before Dorothy was born. She was the youngest and enjoyed being the “baby” of the family. Her siblings “fussed” over her and took her everywhere they went: Wildwood, Shannahan’s Swim Club or they just “hung out” and had a good time on the front porch.
Dorothy and her brothers and sisters went to Our Mother of Sorrows School in West Philadelphia. She later attended West Philadelphia Catholic Girls’ High School. By this time, she knew that she wanted to be a Sister of Saint Joseph, and she discussed that possibility with Sister Rita Martin, SSJ, with whom she had become friendly. In September of 1951 she entered the novitiate at Chestnut Hill.
During her time as a novice, she endured a great sorrow: her mother died. Fortunately, her family and others were a great consolation. Her eldest sister’s home became a “home base” when she visited family and over the years, Catherine became not only a surrogate mother but also a best friend.
Following her novitiate, Joseph was assigned to teach at St. Columba School in Philadelphia. From there, she went on to teach in elementary schools in New Jersey, North Carolina and in other schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. In the early 80’s she taught in a number of high schools, utilizing the skills and knowledge she acquired while earning her MA from Rider College. Later she would serve as secretary in various high schools; for a time, she also served as Director of Religious Education and Director of Social Ministry at St. Ignatius Parish in Hainesport, NJ. When asked which ministry and mission she liked best, she simply said, “All of them”.
In 2017, Sister Joseph’s health began to decline, and she became a resident at Saint Joseph Villa. Her good humor, her friendliness, her love of fun and laughter didn’t leave her, although her health continued to decline. On Easter Sunday, April 12, she died, and she will be missed by her friends and by her family. She never forgot a birthday or anniversary; she never missed a christening, a wedding or a celebration of any kind. Her laughter, her prayers, her dancing will be missed and certainly not forgotten.
Her favorite passage from Scripture was, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God”. (Micah 6:8) Having done that, Sister Joseph, pray for us as we pray for you. Rest with God, in peace.