Eleanor Louise Grainger was born in Boston, MA on August 27,1927. She was the sixth child of John and Sarah Grainger. Eleanor had four brothers: William, Henry, Robert and John. She also had four sisters: Mary, Frances, Katherine and Claire. Eleanor spent most of her childhood in Bath, Maine. She attended St. Mary Elementary School and Morse High School. After high school, Eleanor studied for an AA Degree from Westside Junior College in Portland, ME. She then continued her education and majored in Occupational Therapy at Columbia University in New York City. She received a BS Degree in 1950 and was a certified Occupational Therapist. From 1950 to 1951, Eleanor used her new professional skill to assist children with Cerebral Palsy, served by The National Society for Crippled Children and Adults. Following some retreat periods for reflection and discernment, Eleanor decided at age 23 to apply for membership in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. She started the postulancy program on July 31,1951 at St. Michael’s Novitiate in Englewood Cliff, NJ. Six months later, on February 2, 1952, Eleanor received the religious habit and was given the name Sister Mary Consuelo. Her novitiate training continued for two years. On March 19,1954, Sister Consuelo pronounced her First Vows.
Following her First Profession, Sister Consuelo, also called “Connie” by many, was assigned to teach at St. James High School in Penns Grove, NJ. Her ministry in Education continued for 21 years. In addition to St. James HS, Sister Consuelo taught at: St. Joseph School for the Blind in Jersey City, NJ, St Joseph Home for Girls, also in Jersey City, Madonna HS in Weirton, West VA, and Immaculate Heart Academy in Westwood, NJ. In 1979, Sister Consuelo returned to her initial choice of career. She was hired to work as an occupational therapist at the Letchwood Development Center in Thiells, NY. A few years later, she became a staff member in the Occupational Therapy Department at the Bergen Pines Hospital in Paramus, NJ. Sister Consuelo was interested in many other areas. She explored and studied how to serve in Counseling, in a House of Prayer Ministry, and Social Work services. Throughout her lifetime, she continued to take Courses and attended Conferences to learn the skills she would need in her ministries. Sister Consuelo was part of a close- knit family. The Grainger Family members were deeply saddened when their sister Mary Zedalis was missing from her home in Florida. Despite an extensive police investigation, Mary was not found. She was listed as presumed dead in 1994. On February 1, 1993, Sister Consuelo was asked to coordinate the health services for sisters in the Eastern region. She did this veiy effectively until she suffered from a stroke in 2014.
Sister Consuelo moved to the Infirmary at St. Michael’s Villa. Her condition gradually worsened, and she was placed on Hospice Care in May, 2016. Sister Consuelo died on Sunday, July 3rd at St. Michael’s Villa. Her funeral Mass was offered in the Chapel by Fr. Tom Wesniewski, pastor of St. Catherine’s Church in Glen Rock, NJ. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, NJ. Sister Consuelo was preceded in death by all her brothers and sisters. She was survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
"Life and prayer are intertwined, because the natural thing to do is to talk to God, to pray. Nothing is compartmentalized. "
Margaret Dove, CSJP