SISTER CHRISTINE RILEY
Sister Christine Riley, with two CSJ sisters at her bedside and her birth sister, Kathy, on FaceTime, died at Wheeling Hospital on January 13, 2021 following a three-week illness. Sr. Christine (Mary Alice) was born in Weston, West Virginia on December 7, 1936. She was preceded in death by her father Lawrence Burke Riley, Sr., her mother Alice Edwards Riley and her older brother, Lawrence Burke Riley, Jr. Her sister, Katherine (Kathy) Riley, lives in Weston.
Sister Christine had a long association with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Her three aunts (Angelica, Bernadine, and Thomasina Riley) were members of the congregation, and she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph for 12 years at St. Patrick’s School in Weston. After attending one year at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling on September 8,1955. Christine embraced the mission of the sisters fully throughout her life.
After entering religious life, Sister Christine continued a nursing career and graduated from Wheeling Hospital School of Nursing, received a bachelor of science degree in nursing at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and was conferred a master of arts degree in nursing administration from Columbia University in New York City.
For 16 years, she worked at Wheeling Hospital as a pediatric nurse and nursing service administrator.
In 1987, she felt God’s call to companion others on their spiritual journeys. In 1989, she completed the graduate program in Christian spiritual guidance at Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C., and continued to offer spiritual direction throughout her life.
Her journey as a Sister of St. Joseph led her into elected leadership in her congregation where she served several terms on the council followed by 15 years of full-time congregational ministry as vice president and president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling.
Sister Christine’s ministry took an unexpected twist when she felt God’s surprising Spirit drawing her into a more holistic approach to health and healing as a massage therapist. She was employed as a licensed massage therapist at the Howard Long Wellness Center in Wheeling for 13 years and offered therapeutic massage at various retreat centers.
Sister Christine served as a member of the board of directors for several Catholic hospitals and civic organizations in the State, including ABLE Families and The Gabriel Project W.VA. She served as a member of the board of directors for the SSJ Health and Wellness Foundation.
Christine loved to laugh. She was a joyful person who loved a good story and would often linger at the table after dinner, sharing stories with whomever was present.
In her final weeks in the hospital, Christine continued to reach out to friends through emails and texts. She connected with and prayed for others who were having medical procedures or other life issues. To the end, Christine was thinking of others, reaching out to offer her loving heart and prayerful support to all who might need it.
Due to the current pandemic, Sr. Christine’s funeral liturgy will be celebrated at a later date when we can more safely gather. Memorial contributions to the Congregation of St. Joseph can be sent to
137 Mount St. Joseph Road, Wheeling, WV 26003. Arrangement are being made through Altmeyer Funeral Home in Wheeling. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.altmeyerfuneralhomes.com.