Five Sisters of St. Joseph Celebrate Jubilees

WHEELING — Five members of the Congregation of St. Joseph are marking jubilees this year, representing a combined total of 320 years of service and ministry.

All five sisters celebrated their jubilees together Saturday with a liturgy and a luncheon with family and friends at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling.

Sister Mary Di Domenico and Sister Eileen Marie Sinnott commemorated their 70th jubilees. Sister Joan (Paula) Singer, Sister M. Jane (Miriam) Harrington and Sister Mary Alice Girrens observed their 60th jubilees.

Di Domenico, originally from Beech Bottom, entered the Wheeling Congregation of St. Joseph in 1948. She was known as Sister Mary Esther until after the Second Vatican Council when she resumed use of her baptismal name. She made her first profession of vows on March 19, 1951 and received her educational degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

When the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston opened its mission in Jalapa, Guatemala, Di Domenico was a member of the first team assigned there by the Most Rev. Joseph H. Hodges, diocesan bishop. She remained in Jalapa as a missionary from 1966 until 1971 and considers her ministry there as one of her greatest experiences as a Sister of St. Joseph.

DiDomenico has dedicated her life to ministry and teaching in West Virginia. She ministered among the children at St. Vincent Home for Girls in Wheeling, while also teaching at St. Vincent Home School. In addition, she taught at St. John in Benwood; St. Agnes, Charleston; St. Joseph, Huntington; St. Thomas in Thomas; Sacred Heart, Williamson, and Corpus Christi, Wheeling.

From 1971 onward, she served primarily as principal of Fairmont Catholic Grade School with the exception of 1984-90 when she was principal at St. Francis School in Morgantown. During her years in Fairmont, she was director of Holy Cross Cemetery and a board member at Fairmont General Hospital. She retired in 2010 and moved to Mount St. Joseph in 2015.

Sinnott, who will celebrate her jubilee on Oct. 11, was born in County Wexford, Ireland. In 1948, she entered the Congregation of St. Joseph in Wheeling and made her first profession of vows on Aug. 18, 1951. Later, she received a Bachelor of Science in education degree from Duquesne University and a Master of Science degree in administration from St. John University, Cleveland.

Sinnott has dedicated her life energies to education in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Her ministries as teacher and/or principal include St. Agnes, Charleston; St. Mary, Clarksburg; St. Peter, Fairmont; St. Joseph, Huntington; Corpus Christi and St. Vincent de Paul, both in Wheeling, and St. Patrick, Weston, where she gave a total of 34 years.

Since 2001, she has served as pastoral associate at St. Patrick Church and is now serving as pastoral consultant. From 1993-97, she was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Team.

Singer, a Wheeling native, entered the Congregation of St. Joseph in 1958. Upon reception into the novitiate, she became known as Sister Paula. Subsequently, she resumed use of her baptismal name. She made her first profession of vows on July 31, 1961.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Religious Education degree from Wheeling Jesuit University. In addition, she received a Master of Arts degree in English from West Virginia University and completed clinical pastoral education at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. She is certified as a chaplain through the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

Singer taught at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, Fairmont Catholic Grade School and Fairmont Catholic High School, St. Francis Xavier Grade School in Moundsville, Corpus Christi Grade School in Wheeling, Bishop Donahue High School in McMechen and Wheeling Catholic Elementary School.

She had been a part of the pastoral care department of Wheeling Hospital, ministering mainly at the Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Continuous Care Center, until her retirement in 2016. She also is a member of the advisory committees for Mount St. Joseph and the Wheeling Associates.

Harrington, a native of Bluefield, entered the Congregation of St. Joseph in 1958. As she began her novitiate at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling, she became known as Sister Miriam. After Vatican II, she resumed her baptismal name. She made her first profession of vows on July 31, 1961.

She received Bachelor of Science and Master of Religious Education degrees from Wheeling Jesuit University. She also earned a Master of Science degree in chemistry at Purdue University.

In addition to teaching at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, Harrington served as principal at Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg and as teacher and co-principal at Bishop Donahue High School in McMechen. She ministered as a pastoral associate with the Catholic Community of St. John Fisher at Bethany from 1984-87.

For 10 years, she was diocesan regional coordinator of education and formation in the southern portion of West Virginia. She also was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Team during the 1980s.

In 1997, Harrington became the first executive director of the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund (now the Sisters Health Foundation) with offices in Parkersburg. She continued as executive director for 15 years, retiring from the position in 2012. Since that time, she has served as a board member and board chair for the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, chair of the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition.

Currently, she is a member and vice president of the board of directors of Catholic Charities West Virginia. Her avocations are quilting and completing a family history chronicle begun by her mother.

Girrens, a native of Goddard, Kansas, entered the Congregation of St. Joseph in Wichita in 1957. She holds a Master of Arts degree in business and management administration from Webster University, St. Louis. Her health care ministry included X-ray technology, hospital administration and mission services in Hayward, California; Ponca City, Oklahoma; Pratt, Kansas, and Wichita. She served two terms on the leadership team of the Wichita congregation, from 1984-92 and another term from 2004-07, when the Congregation of St. Joseph was formed.

Girrens was the administrator and coordinator of Mount St. Joseph convent in Wheeling from 2007 until her retirement in 2015. She continues to be involved with the sisters through the ethics committee at Wheeling Hospital and Holy Family Child Care and Development Center.

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