Aston, PA–Sister Antonina Bongiorno, OSF, (formerly Sister Matilda of the Blessed Sacrament), died in St. Joseph Residence in Ringwood, New Jersey on June 9 at the age of ninety-three. Sister Antonina was born in Brooklyn, New York, where she was a member of Transfiguration Parish. In 1938 she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood, a congregation which later merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and professed her first vows in 1940. This year Sister Antonina was a Diamond Jubilarian, celebrating seventy years as a Franciscan sister. She ministered primarily in elementary education and parish ministry in both New Jersey and New York.
Sister Antonina ministered for thirty-three years in the Diocese of Paterson. From 1940-1945 she served in parish ministry at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Passaic. She taught at St. Francis School in Haskell (1965-1969), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Paterson (1969-1972), and St. Catherine School in Ringwood (1987-1988). From 1988 until her death she served at St. Joseph Residence in Ringwood, first in local house ministry and later in prayer ministry.
Sister Antonina ministered for twenty-five years in the Diocese of Brooklyn. She served in parish ministry at St. Blaise Parish (1949-1954) and St. Francis Paola Parish (1955-1958). She taught at St. Benedict School (1962-1965) and Holy Family School (1972-1980, 1981-1987).
Sister Antonina’s seven years of ministry in the Diocese of Albany included working at St. Joseph Parish in Little Falls (1945-1949) and Assumption Parish in Frankford (1959-1962). She also worked for a short time in the Archdiocese of Newark where she taught at Assumption School in Emerson (1980-1981).
All services will be held in St. Joseph Residence, 474 Sloatsburg Road in Ringwood, on Friday, June 13. The viewing will be from 9 A.M. – 12 noon. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12 noon in the convent chapel, followed by burial in God’s Acre Cemetery in Ringwood. Sister Antonina is survived by her three sisters, Rose Bongiorno and Anna Caltabiano, both of North Babylon, New York; Martha Giambalvo of Monroe, New York; and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to Franciscan Ministries Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.