Aston, PA-Sister Emma Mary Steckel, OSF, 77, died at St. Basil the Great Convent in Kimberton on February 8. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 54 years. Sister Emma Mary (Mary Theresa Steckel) was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she was a member of St. Francis Assisi Parish. Prior to her entrance into the congregation in 1952, she graduated from Allentown Central Catholic High School. She professed her first vows in 1955. Sister Emma Mary earned a B.A. in English from Neumann College in Aston, Pennsylvania. She served in elementary education for 35 years and for the last 19 years worked with persons who are homeless. In her leisure time, Sister Emma Mary enjoyed walking, reading, and doing crafts.
Sister Emma Mary ministered for 44 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She taught at St. Aloysius School, Pottstown; St. Stanislaus School, Lansdale; St. Elizabeth School; St. Benedict School; and Nativity School, Media. From 1990 until shortly before her death she ministered at St. Mary Franciscan Shelter in Phoenixville. In 2008 she received the Champions of the Community Award from the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation for her ministry with persons who are homeless.
Sister Emma Mary’s nine years of ministry in the Diocese of Allentown included teaching at Holy Ghost School in Bethlehem and Sacred Heart School in Allentown. She was also principal of St. John the Baptist School in Whitehall.
Additional ministry included teaching at Academia Santa Teresita in Narajito, Puerto Rico.
All services will be held on Thursday, February 12, at St. Basil the Great Church in Kimberton. The viewing will be from 9 A.M. to 10:45 A.M. followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 A.M. Burial will be in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston, Pennsylvania, at 3:15 P.M.. Sister Emma Mary is survived by six brothers,: Charles, Joseph, John, Vince, Frank, and Steve; five sisters: Grace Steckel, Agnes Dolan, Kitty Kovacs, Peg Roth, and Regina Hausman; and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to Franciscan Ministries Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.