In In Loving Remembrance

Sister Virginia Ann Talbot

Sister Virginia Ann Talbot died on September 8 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown. She was buried in the congregational cemetery, following a mass in the Villa chapel.

Sister Virginia was born in Bethlehem, PA, the oldest daughter of James and Eugenia Talbot. Her sister, Eugenia (Jean), was born four years later. The family were members of St. Simon and Jude parish in Bethlehem and the girls attended the parish school where they were taught by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart. When Virginia was in fourth grade, the family moved to the adjoining city of Allentown and Virginia met the Sisters of Saint Joseph for the first time in St. Catherine of Sienna School.

She later attended Allentown Central Catholic High School.   Because of her father’s position at the Bethlehem Steel Co., he was transferred from time to time, and after two years, the family moved to Buffalo, NY. where she attended Sacred Heart Academy and finished at Amherst High School.  Yet again, her father was transferred; this time it was to Pittsburgh, PA.  By this time, Virginia was probably tired of moving and went to live with her grandmother in Allentown and she frequently visited the sisters at St. Catherine Convent. She was actually looking for some clarity about her future.  She had worked while in high school, for a time in a department store and also in a bank, but she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.  She was very friendly with Sister Elizabeth Ann, and after a lot of prayer and discussion, she decided that religious life might be in her future.  So, she and her sister Jean went to see Mother Marie Estelle; her parents were still living in Pittsburg. Mother Marie Estelle suggested that the SSJ congregation in Baden, Virginia might be a better option, but Chestnut Hill was Virginia’s foremost and final choice.

Following her novitiate, Virginia was missioned to teach at St. Anne school in Philadelphia. Once she got into the classroom, she loved it and said it fit, “like a hand in a glove”.  She went on to teach in the other schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as well as schools in the Allentown, PA and Trenton, NJ dioceses. In 1985. She began to work as Coordinator of Various Ministries for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, continuing this work until 1995. She then served as pastoral minister at St. Genevieve Parish in Flourtown until 2004. In 2015 she retired to the Villa.

Throughout her life, she followed the example of her mom, who prayed the rosary daily; the rosary was Virginia ‘s sustaining prayer, complementing her deep love of the Eucharist and her unwavering faith in God.  In her eulogy of Virginia, Sister Maureen Erdlen recalled her reserved and gracious spirit, which brought to mind a quote,” Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with one another, which both attracts and heals”.  She was able to offer to so many this healing presence.

Sister Virginia touched many lives during her years of ministry with her gracious and gentle spirit, her compassion, and her sense of humor. We will miss her. We are grateful for having had her presence among us. May she rest in eternity with the God she so loved.

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