On November 5, 2020 surrounded by her Sisters in community, Sister Mary Cecilia Jurasinski, professing a deep love for God, fell asleep in the Lord. For the last year Sister Cecilia had been struggling with health issues and just recently, after her last hospitalization, was put on hospice care. Asking forgiveness for everyone for whatever way she may have offended, she prayed that Mary the Blessed Virgin, lead her into Heaven.
Sister Mary Cecilia entered the community in Fox Chase on September 4, 1960 and received her final profession on March 12, 1963. She was born in Reading, PA and was a parishioner of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church where she received baptism and chrismation.
Sister was the daughter of the late Stanislaw and Ksenia Shelak, sister of Michael, and the late Frank, Joseph, John, Walter, Thomas and Anna Sajdak.
After having taught in the Reading School system she entered the Order of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Jesus, Lover of Humanity Province. The superiors at that time recognized that Sister possessed an inquisitive mind and a great capacity for leadership and learning.
Having received her Associate Degree at Manor in 1956 Sister then received a BA in Elementary Education at Immaculate University and a master’s degree in American History at Villanova University. Sister’s education continued at Temple University where she pursued a Doctorate Degree in History.
While still a novice, Sister Cecilia was assigned by the Provincial and her Council to teach at Saint Basil Academy and Manor College. Sister was popular with the students who came to love her courses in the History of Western Civilization, the history of the United States, Eastern European History and Women in America. After profession Sister continued to teach at Manor and served as Dean of Students.
In 1985 Sister Cecilia became President of Manor College, a position she held until 2015. Under Sister’s leadership at Manor, the College successfully passed the rigors of the Middle States Review on two occasions; established the Ukrainian Heritage Center; the Dental Center and the Veterinary Program as well as expanded the holdings in the Basilead Library.
Always active participant in community endeavors, Sister’s interest included the study of the Byzantine Liturgical Tradition; our founder, Saint Basil the Great; Basilian Monastic Tradition; and Ukrainian History. Sister modeled for all in her community the true Basilian spirit. A woman of deep prayer and service, she truly believed in developing her God-given gifts throughout her life believing that our Triune God continues to surprise us with His creation and His activity.
Sister loved an intelligent conversation, especially around the topics of the Gospel, Liturgical prayer, American and Ukrainian History, and the Ukrainian Church. Serving on several committees, both on the Province and General level, Sister contributed much toward the governance and spirit of the Order.
But mostly Sister Cecilia will be remembered for her deep faith, her gentle loving ways, and her sense of humor.
Sister is survived by several nieces, grand nieces, and nephews, as well as great grand nieces and nephews and her beloved Sisters of Saint Basil the Great.
Eternal Memory grant to her, O Lord
Due to the pandemic there will be no viewing but only a graveside service. The Divine Liturgy will be offered at a later date.
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