August 19, 1931 – May 20, 2022
Sister Mary Ruth Beale, CSJ, died on May 20, 2022, at the age of 90. For 72 years as a Sister of Saint Joseph, Sister Mary Ruth lived a life of faith-filled service.
Christened Margaret Veronica C. Beale, Sister Mary Ruth was born on August 19, 1931, in Troy, New York, and was the second daughter of Earl and Alice Beale. She attended St. Augustine’s Grade School and graduated from Catholic Central High School, Class of 1949.
Sister Mary Ruth entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1949, pronounced her first vows on March 19, 1952 and her final vows on August 15, 1957. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of St. Rose in 1967 and her Master’s degree from that same institution in 1973, specializing in reading.
For 26 years, Sister Mary Ruth Beale served the people of the Syracuse and Albany Dioceses as a mentor for the young children entrusted to her care. She was an extremely creative and energizing teacher, enthralling her students with her stories, wit and radiant smile. Although diminutive in size, Sister Mary Ruth was a powerful force for good, bringing her enthusiasm, joy and desire for the welfare of each student to the fore. Her students knew that she loved and cared for them and in that realization, they blossomed under her tutelage. Using her legendary “themed bulletin boards,” her intuition, her artistic inclination and her love for writing poetry, Sister Mary Ruth freed her students to embrace the full and rich possibilities of life that she opened up to each of them.
In September of 1976, Sister Mary Ruth realized a long-desired dream: to work as a Parish Minister in Norwich, New York. In this capacity, Sister Mary Ruth brought to bear her amazing storehouse of talents. Schooled in the CSJ tradition of discerning the needs of the “dear neighbor,” Sister Mary Ruth undertook ministry to the elderly through hospital and home visitation to the sick and dying. Early in the stages of this ministry, Sister Mary Ruth understood the needs that caregivers also demonstrated and was a pioneer in advocating for services for them. After seven fruitful years in Norwich, New York, Sister Mary Ruth returned to her home parish of St. Augustine’s in Troy. Here, she spent five amazing years, “sprinkling her talents” (as she called it) in a variety of ways: taking the parish census in door-to-door visitation, joining the many and varied parish committees, visiting the home and hospitalized ill, founding the parish reading center, initiating a scripture/prayer group and with her shrewd CSJ perspicacity, training others to assume responsibility in her place. After a much-needed sabbatical in 1988, Sister Mary Ruth served in Endicott, New York where she ministered for eight years to the sick and elderly. Upon completion of this mission, Sister Mary Ruth returned to St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Albany, New York where she became a volunteer visitor to the elderly of Our Lady of Hope Residence for ten years. She continued this ministry to her own sisters for three more years at the Provincial House, retiring in 2016 at the age of 84.
Through her generous, life-giving, open-hearted acceptance and love of all with whom she interacted, Sister Mary Ruth fulfilled the Gospel message: “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” From children in grade school to those in the full bloom of life, to those on the doorstep of eternity, Sister Mary Ruth responded with alacrity, joy and deep faith. As one parishioner stated about Sister Mary Ruth: [Through her] “we have had an encounter with our Creator in the embodiment of a curly-haired person….who enjoys friendship, fun, flowers, eating, a good slam dunk and the thrill of a baseball as it soars high out of the park toward the heavens….we have enjoyed the humor of the Father in the kitchens of our homes, through the presence of Sister Mary Ruth Beale.” Sister Mary Ruth is mourned by her friends, her family and her CSJ community.
In addition to her parents, Sister Mary Ruth was predeceased by four siblings in infancy: Mary, Joseph, James, and William as well as three sisters and brothers-law: Mary and Jim Rosetti, Teresa and Neil Arsenault, Ruth and Jim Carey and a brother John. She is survived by her sister-in-law Gail Beale of Dayton, Ohio and her cousin Pat Foley of Troy, New York, many nieces and nephews, especially Davida Marks, Alicia Carey and Lisa Herman who were faithful to Sister. A wake for Sister Mary Ruth will be held on Tuesday, May 31 at 7 pm at St. Joseph’s Provincial House with her funeral Mass Wednesday, June 1 at 10:30 am. Both services are open only to the immediate family as well as her religious community.
Contributions in Sister’s memory may be made to The Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110 or you can donate online.