Latham-Sister Marionella Graham, 86, died Sunday, September 15, 2019, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 66 years.
Sister Marionella, the former Helen Mae Graham, was born in Syracuse, NY, on November 13, 1932, daughter of the late John and Marian Cathers Graham. After graduating from St. John’s Catholic Academy, Syracuse, she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, NY, on March 19, 1953 and professed final vows on August 15, 1960.
Sister Marionella received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The College of Saint Rose and spent 58 years in the ministry of education as teacher and librarian in schools in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses, including 23 years at Blessed Sacrament School, Syracuse. In 2013, she retired to St. Joseph’s Provincial House where she had a knack for spreading joy to Sisters and staff alike.
Sister Marionella was a truly humble woman with an utter self-awareness, a deep sense of gratitude for God’s gifts and an abiding commitment to focus on bringing compassion and respect to the world. Her life was characterized by love of family, faithfulness to friends and community and generosity of spirit. Never afraid to speak up for her firmly held beliefs, Sister Marionella was honest and clear in her communication style but also appropriate, constructive and kind. Open to new thoughts, ideas and adventures, Sister Marionella simply did not recognize as part of her vocabulary the expression, “But we have always done it that way.” In her ministry, her life in community, her friendships and her day-to-day interactions, Sister Marionella was reliable, empathetic, forgiving and fun. She leaves us a legacy of the beauty of focusing one’s energy on others, and she will be dearly missed.
Sister Marionella is survived by her beloved sisters, Carol (Pat) Marra, Joan (Nick) Aragona, and Marilyn Mellone; her sisters-in-law, Eva and Gladys Graham; her brother-in-law, Tony (Carol) Emmi; many nieces and nephews and their families; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, William and John Graham, and her sister, Phyllis Emmi.
Sister Marionella’s wake will be held in the chapel of St. Joseph's Provincial House, Latham, on Thursday, September 19, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. with the prayer service at 7:00 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held in the chapel of the Provincial House on Friday, September 20, at 10:00 a.m. Donations in Sister Marionella’s memory may be made to the Development Office, Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet Shaker Road, Latham, NY, 12110. Please visit www.mcloughlinmason.com.