Sister Theresa was born Jan. 22, 1929 in Des Plaines, Ill. She entered the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1948 in Pennsylvania and made her final vows in 1956 in Paris, France. Sister Theresa was a registered nurse.
Compassion was the hallmark of her life. She followed the words of Antoinette Fage, co-founder of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, “Show me the poor and I will run to them with a loving heart.” In the early years of her religious life, Sister Theresa's heart was with the poor of New York City. Whenever she encountered anyone on the streets, in their homes or on the subway who was struggling with the effects of poverty, she immediately and without hesitation reached out to them, listening attentively, providing food, shelter, support, and friendship, and sought to create ways to bring them some peace. She preached the gospel with her life.
Sister Theresa was named Provincial in 1969 during a time of great change in the Church and in the Congregation. She was instrumental in the coordination of the Central Advisory Board that helped with the certification of the Little Sisters of the Assumption Agencies in Philadelphia, New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts. These efforts expanded and enhanced the services to families struggling to move out of poverty.
In 1975, she was elected to the general leadership team of the Congregation and moved to Paris. In 1981 she was elected superior general of the Congregation. In 1984, she led the Congregation through changes to the Constitutions of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, which was a significant moment in the life of the Congregation. In 1987, she returned to the United States and to her beloved New York City.
Sister Theresa is survived by her sister, Marie Dinneen and her husband Richard, numerous loving nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 11 a.m., at the Sisters of St. Anne Chapel, 720 Boston Post Rd., Marlborough. Burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, Broadway Street, Malden. Calling hours will be held Tuesday morning, from 10 to 11 a.m., at the Convent, 720 Boston Post Rd. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Fitzgerald & Collins Funeral Home of Marlborough.
Expressions of sympathy in Sister Theresa's name may be made to the Little Sisters of the Assumption, 100 Gladstone Ave., Walden, NY 12586.
For online condolences, visit www.CollinsFuneral.com.