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Ita Duffy, CSJP (1919-2018)

Mary Kate Duffy, born on May 6,1919 in Kilmurray, County Roscommon, Ireland was the oldest child of Michael and Elizabeth Duffy. Mary Kate had 5 sisters: Agnes, Ann, Delia, Elizabeth and Winifred. She also had 1 brother, Patrick. Mary Kate was educated in the Castleplunkett, National School in Co. Roscommon. At age 17, she responded to an advertisement in The Irish Press that invited young women to join the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in their nursing and teaching ministries. On June 29,1936, Mary Kate became an Aspirant for the Religious Community in Cabra, County Down, Ireland. On April 12,1937, she started her postuiancy training at St. Michael's Novitiate in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. She received the Religious Habit on September 8, 1937, and was given the name Sister Mary Ita. The novitiate program continued and on September 8.1939, Sister Ita pronounced her First Vows.

After her First Profession, Sr. Ita was assigned to teach at St. James School in Penns Grove, NJ. For the following ten years, she was missioned at schools staffed by the CSJP Sisters. Sr. Ita was a skilled and successful Educator who greatly enjoyed her teaching responsibilities. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a BA. In 1946, Sr. Ita became a US citizen. In 1953, the Sisters received a request for volunteer teachers to go to the Philippines. Sr. Ita responded and was assigned to teach high school classes; first, in Malaybalay, and then in Phillips. She had great regard for the students, their parents and the teachers in the Philippines' missions where she served for over 19 years.

In 1972, Sr. Ita returned to New Jersey to enter a different ministry, the St. Joseph Magazine Office. Here, she would serve as bookkeeper and treasurer for the next 25 years. Her knowledge of financial procedures continued to expand, and in 1976, she was also asked to serve as the representative of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace on The Coalition for Responsible Investment. She assumed this responsibility for seven years. In July, 1998, Sr. Ita retired from the magazine office and moved to St. Michael's Villa in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Sr, Ita's interest and support for CSJP events continued throughout her life at St. Michael's. Her words at the celebration of her Golden Jubilee, continued to her last days. "We remember our past with gratitude. We thank each of you for assisting us on our journey. We renew our commitment to the present, and we embrace a future that calls us to continue to risk for the kingdom of God." On Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018, Sr. Ita died. Her funeral Mass was offered in on March 28t!l. Sr. Ita was pre-deceased by her sisters and brother. She was survived by several nieces and nephews. She is greatly missed at St. Michael's.

Ita Duffy, CSJP (1919-2018)

"The important thing is that we remain open to God as he reveals himself to us in the circumstances of life and do everything possible to bring the body of his Son to completion."

Catherine O'Connor, CSJP