Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sister Mary Catherine Vukmanic April 16, 1919 - Nov. 22, 2014 Last Surviving Member of Ursuline Sisters of Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sister Mary Catherine Vukmanic April 16, 1919 - Nov. 22, 2014 Last Surviving Member of Ursuline Sisters of Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

The Nov. 22 death of Sister Mary Catherine Vukmanic at age 95 marked the end of an era in Pittsburgh Catholicism. The former teacher at Ursuline Academy in Pittsburgh was the last surviving member of the Ursuline Sisters of Pittsburgh, which merged into a related religious order in 1958.

But that footnote in history only begins to tell her story. Sister Mary Catherine spent more than three-quarters of a century as a religious sister, taught children, college students and future priests, published many poems, crossed religious boundaries to earn a doctorate in theology at a Southern Baptist institution and worked into her 80s among the needy at a small Appalachian parish.

"She was very energetic. She was always into new challenges," said her friend Sister Martha Jacob, archivist for the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, into which the Pittsburgh Ursuline order had merged.

Born in Pittsburgh as Helen Margaret, she was baptized at the former St. Augustine Church in Lawrenceville. She graduated from Schenley High School in Oakland. She entered the Ursulines in 1936 and adopted the name Mary Catherine. Sister Mary Catherine earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey and a master of arts in English from Duquesne University.

She taught topics ranging from English and Latin to geometry and religion at the former Ursuline Academy in Pittsburgh in the Bloomfield neighborhood in the 1940s and 1950s. The school, primarily for girls, operated from 1894 to 1981. She was also an adjunct professor in English at Duquesne.

After the smaller Pittsburgh Ursulines merged in 1958 into the Louisville order, Sister Mary Catherine moved there to the much larger community of hundreds of members.

She continued to teach in such venues as Sacred Heart Academy and Ursuline College, both in Louisville, Ky. …

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