"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Sister Betty Finn

Sister Elizabeth Finn died March 25, 2024, at the age of 86 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility for the Sisters of Charity. Sister was born on April 17, 1937, to George P. and Julia (Burke) Finn in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was one of four children, having a sister and two brothers. She was a Sister of Charity for 68 years.

Sister Elizabeth, known as Betty to most everyone, grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts and Catonsville, Maryland, before the family moved to Lima, Ohio, in the early 1950s. She graduated from St. Rose High School in Lima in 1955. After this brief acquaintance with the SC Community, she chose to enter the Sisters of Charity on Sept. 8, 1955.

Sister Betty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1962 and a master’s in education from Xavier University in 1970. She received a master’s in pastoral counseling from Mount St. Mary Seminary, Cincinnati, in 1986.

Sister Betty’s ministries spanned 50 years, 10 in the elementary classroom; nine in elementary administration; 13 as a counselor and consultant; and 11 preparing young candidates in religious formation. She also gave eight years to elected congregational leadership.

She was first missioned to the elementary classroom at St. Bernadette, Amelia, Ohio, in 1957, then to St. Mary, Hyde Park, and St. Elizabeth, Norwood, Ohio. She moved to teaching junior high students in 1964 at St. James, Bay City, Michigan, and served at St. Albert the Great, Kettering, Ohio, 1969-’70. Sister Betty was principal at Holy Angels, Sidney, Ohio (1966-’69) and St. Teresa, Springfield, Ohio (1970-’76). It was at this time in her life that she was asked to become the counselor for liberal arts students at the College of Mount St. Joseph where she founded the Women’s Resource Center for women returning to school. She continued in this ministry until 1980, a calling she truly enjoyed.

At this time the congregation was seeking a director of novices, young women looking to become vowed members of the SC Community. In spite of her background in counseling, Sister Betty found the call to work with women in formation a real challenge. “This afforded me the opportunity to take a better look at myself and to what I am committing my life to as well,” she shared. “The experience of being asked to do this was humbling, but I knew God would work through me.” In 1986 she agreed to serve as the director of the Intercommunity Novitiate, living and working at the Congregation of Divine Providence, St. Anne’s in Melbourne, Kentucky. Simultaneously she was also providing counseling and consultant services in the Greater Cincinnati area, having completed a degree at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary that same year. 

Sister Connie Bach, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, remembers Sister Betty for the impact she had on Sister Connie’s initial formation through the Intercommunity Novitiate program. “She asked tough questions, shared incredible insights, and challenged us in many ways. She was personable, caring, witty and gifted. Her love for God, her community, and her neighbor were quite evident. … She was inspiring, and left an indelible mark in my heart!”

In 1995 another recognition of Sister Betty’s varied gifts saw her elected to leadership as a congregational councilor. After eight years of service she choose to retire from active ministry, but continued to offer her services as a consultant for congregations in future planning and discernment processes as well as providing spiritual direction, retreats and facilitation of meetings when called upon.

As Sister Betty looked to freer, less scheduled days, she enjoyed walks, reading a good novel, cooking and going out to dinner with friends.

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