Sister Mary Dorena Dwyer, CSJ, 99, died Sunday, September 11, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 80 years.
Sister Mary Dorena, the former Mary Theresa Dwyer, was born in Syracuse, NY, on June 3, 1917, daughter of the late Roger and Josephine Kenney Dwyer. She was raised in St. Brigid’s Parish and graduated from Syracuse Central High School. On March 19, 1937, Sister Mary Dorena entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and pronounced final vows on August 15, 1942. She received a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in education, both from The College of Saint Rose. For 41 years, Sister Mary Dorena taught in schools of the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses. In addition, she taught and supervised student teachers at The College of Saint Rose and was the director of education for the Albany Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph. For 14 years, Sister Mary Dorena was a staff member at Mulberry Hill Arts, the ceramics shop at St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
Sister Mary Dorena was a master educator, gifted at connecting with the children, engaging the parents and affirming the staff. She also was an excellent mentor to younger teachers, challenging yet affirming, always ready to share both her expertise and her listening heart. In her retirement years, Sister Dorena found that her passion for clay ran deep, and she created beautiful ceramic works of art. With a profound love for God and a great devotion to her family, her religious community and her friends, Sister Dorena leaves us a legacy of faith, hope and endurance, and she will be dearly missed by all of us.
Sister Mary Dorena is survived by her beloved sister, Doris Healey; her sister-in-law, Frances Dwyer; her nieces, Karen Mazzucco, Kathleen Hogan and Michele Garo; her nephews, Frank Healey and Patrick, Michael and Timothy Dwyer; their families; and the Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to her parents, Sister Mary Dorena was predeceased by her brother, Roger Dwyer.
Sister Mary Dorena’s Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, September 14, at 11:00 a.m. from the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. Calling hours will be held at the Provincial House on Tuesday, September 13, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Contributions in Sister Mary Dorena’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110.