Januray 29, 1921 – November 16, 2022
Sister Alice Roberta Benzing, 101, ended her journey as a Sister of St. Joseph on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, New York. Sister had long expressed her desire to live past her hundredth birthday.
Sister Alice (Dorothy Louise Benzing) was born on January 29, 1921, the daughter of Herbert and Alice Marsden Benzing. There were three sons, Robert, Leo, and Charles, and two sisters, Florence St. John and Mildred Lagoe.
After completing her elementary and secondary education, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in Troy, New York on September 15, 1939. Sister pronounced her first vows in 1942 and made her final profession on August 15, 1945. Sister Alice completed a B.A. in mathematics and an M.S. in education at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. For 28 years, Sister taught in the middle grades, junior high, and high schools of the Syracuse and Albany Dioceses. She was a creative and energetic teacher and shared her many artistic talents with her local communities. In 1968, Sister Alice was asked if she would be willing to be assigned to Hawaii. With prayer and discussion, she accepted the assignment.
Sister Alice brought her love of religious life, her creativity, and her love of celebrations to this new assignment. Initially, Sister taught math and science in the junior high schools of Kailua, Honolulu, and Oahu, Hawaii. She loved her experience of living with Sisters of St. Joseph from throughout the Congregation and with the people of Hawaii. In 1968, she was able to bring her love of working with young people and her desire to share with them a love of liturgy in pastoral ministry. She ministered in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programs and worked with students to prepare liturgies. She contributed her artistic and needlework skills to the preparation of liturgical banners for special celebrations. In her banners, she was inspired by the distinctive quilting developed by the women of Hawaii. At the time of her Golden Jubilee, Sister Alice spoke of her joy of being surrounded by the beauty of a multicultural church, living with members of the Congregation, and being encircled with incredible natural loveliness. In 2012, Sister Alice returned to St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Albany, New York to “retire.” Here she continued to bring her vibrant and hopeful spirit to the community.
Sister’s parents and siblings have predeceased her. However, her large extended family, who will miss her presence at their yearly gatherings, will continue to celebrate her presence and stories. Sister’s niece, Sister Mary Alice St. John, her nephew Leo Lagoe, her dear Sister of St. Joseph friends, and all those who have come to be with this vibrant woman of God will continue to treasure the legacy of this wonderful Sister of St. Joseph.
Sister Alice Roberta’s life will be commemorated at a wake service on Monday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m., and her funeral liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 22, at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
Contributions in Sister Alice’s memory may be made to the Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet Shaker Rd., Latham, New York, 12110 or you can donate online.