May 20, 1951- August 12, 2021
Sister Mary Rose Noonan, CSJ, 70, died on August 12, 2021, at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, New York. Sister Mary Rose was born in Utica, New York on May 20, 1951, the daughter of Edward H. Noonan, Jr. and Kathryn Dwyer Noonan. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 47 years. After graduating from Utica Catholic Academy in 1969 and the College of Saint Rose in 1973, Sister Mary Rose entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1973 and professed her final vows on August 15, 1981.
Sister Mary Rose earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at the College of Saint Rose and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. She taught English at Notre Dame High School, Utica and was a youth minister and guidance counselor in several Syracuse diocesan high schools.
In 1985, Sister Mary Rose began her ministry in Albany Province administration and development and, from 1994–2021, served as communication director. Her excellent writing and editing skills enabled Sister Mary Rose to bring the activities of the Albany Province to the wider congregation and many others, in print and digitally. Also, the many successful grants Sister Mary Rose wrote, including for updated communication technology, expanded her ministry and the ministries of many sisters.
A beloved community woman, Sister Mary Rose’s presence always “lit up the house,” her Sisters remember. She served frequently as mistress of ceremonies for holiday parties and community celebrations, even forming an all-sister band. With her ever-present camera, she documented 30 years of CSJ life in all its facets.
Sister Mary Rose’s amazing spirit, always evident, only strengthened after her scleroderma diagnosis. The suffering her illness brought, but also the support she received, she said, led her to growth in love and an understanding that hope and endurance were God’s gifts to her. She shared her scleroderma journey with others, serving on the board of the Central New York Chapter of the United Scleroderma Foundation and sharing her story both on TV and in newspaper articles, offering encouragement to families and caregivers of those also journeying with this disease.
Sister Mary Rose was fiercely dedicated to her family and friends. Known to them as “M.R.,” “Mamie,” “Big Mamie” and “Emmy,” she filled the roles of daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt, sister-in-law and dear Saint Rose roommate with humor, grace and endless love. She was a proud and driven daughter, the rock and the protector of her adoring, close-knit sibling pack, the loudest cheerleader and supporter of her nieces and nephews and the joyful, magical great-aunt that every child should have.
Mary Rose had an incredible ability to bring people together whether it was in-person and more recently, virtually. There was always a reason to celebrate with Mary Rose—her famous family Christmas party, college roommates’ get-togethers, birthdays, baptisms, confirmations, all with a theme. Mary Rose was the official photo archivist for all her family and friends; she knew how to capture love and happiness. Mary Rose’s greatest gift was her ability to impact the lives of literally every person she met. Through her infectious smile, witty humor, brilliant speech and unwavering commitment, Mary Rose left a legacy of unparalleled love.
In addition to her parents, Sister Mary Rose was predeceased by her brother John. She is survived by her brother, Edward III (Rosemary), and her sisters, Ellen Morelli (Thomas) and Kathryn Noonan (Doug Green). She will live in the memories of her nieces and nephews, Ed (Shannon), Michael, Brian (Megan), Mary Rose (Erik), Jessica (Dave), Thomas (Jenny), Emma (Fode`), Max (Alana), Lizzy (Eddie), as well as nine great-nieces and nephews.
Sister Mary Rose’s memory will be cherished by her Sisters of St. Joseph community, especially her dear friend, Sister Patricia Houlihan, her family and many friends. Sister Mary Rose has touched the lives of many caregivers, who have both cared for her and been inspired by her courageous spirit.
Services for Sister Mary Rose will include: on Thursday, August 19, a 4:30 p.m. burial service in the cemetery at the Provincial House in Latham to which all are welcome and at 7:00 p.m., Vespers in the Provincial House Chapel where attendance will be limited to sisters and family due to COVID requirements; on Friday, August 20, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Genesee Street in Utica, there will be a wake service for one hour followed by a 1:00 memorial Mass, open to all.
Contributions in Sister Mary Rose’s memory may be made to The Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Rd, Latham, NY 12110 and Scleroderma Tri-State Foundation, 59 Front Street, Binghamton, NY 13905. Or give an online donation.