Sister Constance Murphy, a member of the Sisters of St. John the Divine who was recently made a canon of Toronto's St. James Cathedral, celebrated her 100th birthday at the SSJD convent last month. Photo with this caption.
"On August 20  I went to the funeral of Sister Constance Murphy at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. For 77 years, she had been a life-professed member of the Society of the Sisters of St. John the Divine (SSJD), a devoted educator of the young and advocate for the aged who offered tireless pastoral care. Her sisters nursed her to a holy and peaceful death at the age of 109-and-a-half". As the hearse pulled away from the cathedral on its way to the crematorium, the sisters all waved goodbye. "Knowing the sisters as I do, I recognized that they waved their goodbye in every confidence that on a distant shore, another great company. beyond number, was greeting their beloved Constance -- the angels, the saints, and holy women and men in every age welcoming her into the presence of the Lord. In that final gesture toward Constance, SSJD, I saw the essence of what we celebrate as we keep the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. One company says, 'Farewell'. Another says, 'Welcome'. Both find their joy and their hope in Christ, crucified and risen".
"Sr. Constance Murphy, the oldest nun at the Sisters of St. John the Divine (SSJD) convent in Toronto, died peacefully on Aug. 2, 2013, after a long life devoted to giving and service to others, young and old. She was 109. Born in Baltimore, Md., in 1904, Sr. Constance earned an education degree in 1928. She entered the SSJD in 1933 and became a sister in 1936, then went on to become head mistress of the Qu'Appelle Diocesan School in Regina. Later, Sr. Constance's ministry focused on the elderly. In 1973, at the age of 73, she completed a master's degree in adult education with a certificate in gerontology. She advocated for the aged and was an outspoken critic of ageism. Even at age 99, she was still busy ministering to the residents of two Toronto seniors' care centres. 'She was a jewel', said the Rev. Canon Derwyn Shea, rector of St. Hilda's Towers". [Text of entire article.]
Foreword by the Rt. Rev. Terence Finlay, Bishop of Toronto.
Sister Constance was born Constance Elizabeth Murphy on 2 February 1904. "In her narrative, written over a period of three years with the assistance of David A. Kent, Sr. Constance describes her childhood and youth in Baltimore, Maryland; her decision to enter the religious life in a new city and country, Toronto, Canada; her years of teaching and then her position as Head Mistress of Qu'Appelle Diocesan School in Regina, Saskatchewan; her return east in the 1950s to become Head of the Home for the Aged; and her later work with the elderly. She also provides practical suggestions for ministering to the elderly as well as thoughtful reflections on aging". -- back cover.
Contents: Acknowledgements dated Toronto, May 1997 / Sister Constance, S.S.J.D. -- Foreword dated Toronto, February 9, 1997, Commemoration of Hannah Grier Coome, Religious Founder of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine / Terence Finlay, Bishop of Toronto -- Introduction -- "Fire Baby": My Family Roots -- From Europe to Religious Vocation, 1929-1936 -- Teaching at Aurora (1937-1938) and at Qu'Appelle Diocesan School (1938-1955) -- The Church Home for the Aged, 1958-1972 -- Lambert Lodge and Castleview-Wychwood Towers, 1972-1990 -- More Work for the Elderly (C.I.R.G., "Book of Prayers in Large Print", and "Sing Your Way Home") -- Return to College, 1976-1977 -- The Garnsworthy Connection -- St. Hilda's Days, 1972-1976, 1908-1984, 1990-1994 -- Aging -- Afterword -- Curriculum Vitae of Sister Constance, S.S.J.D. -- Appendices -- Index.
That this National Executive Council appoint Miss Gertrude Beattie and Sister Constance SSJD, as official representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada on the CIRG, until General Synod 1977, and that from time to time they report to the Program Committee. CARRIED