Aston, PA-Sister Michael Joseph Herron, OSF, 101, died in Assisi House on June 17. The oldest member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, she was planning to celebrate her 102nd birthday on June 28. A professed member of the congregation for 76 years, Sister Michael was born Bridget Catherine Herron in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1908. She was one of 13 children in the Herron family and entered the convent when she was 23 years old. Prior to entrance into the congregation in 1932, she worked as a housekeeper at St. Lawrence Rectory in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania.
Sister Michael Joseph earned a B.S. in English from Mount St. Mary University in Emmitsburg and spent her years in active ministry in both elementary education and parish ministry. She ministered for 51 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. She taught at St. Elizabeth School (1938-1939); St. Peter Claver School (1939-1940); Little Flower School (1940-1944, 1964-1974); St. Stephen School, Bradshaw (1944-1947); and St. Katharine School (1947-1955). From 1974-1998 Sister Michael Joseph moved into parish ministry at Little Flower Parish, an experience that left her with many fond memories. “It was particularly rewarding when I spent time in parish ministry,” she recalled. “God spoke through me-I was his instrument to bring peace to troubled hearts and souls.”
Sister Michael Joseph also ministered for 10 years in the Diocese of Wilmington. There she taught at St. Paul School (1932-1933, 1934-1938) and at St. Anthony School (1959-1964). Additional ministry experience included teaching in the Archdiocese of Washington at St. Bernadette School, Silver Spring, Maryland (1955-1959).
In 1998 Sister Michael Joseph moved to Assisi House in Aston, Pennsylvania, where she served in prayer ministry until her death. Here too, she was conscious of importance of her ministry. “Now in prayer ministry, I can remember the needs of the world, the Church, employees, family, and friends,” she said. “How can I ever return thanks to the Lord for all he has given to me!” She loved to draw and showcased her works along the walls and door of her bedroom. Although she was hard of hearing, she still liked to joke with the staff and read up on current events. In fact, Sister Michael credited her good sense of humor and her love for God as factors contributing to her longevity in life. When she celebrated her 75th jubilee last years, she wrote, “My heart is filled with gratitude to God and to each sister for her kindness, love, and caring for me over these 75 years in our Franciscan community….God is good!”
On May 11 of this year, Sister Michael Joseph was awarded a certificate of official recognition “in grateful acknowledgment of distinguished service and exemplary citizenship in the County of Delaware.” A representative from the county presented the award and flowers to Sister Michael. As she read the certificate, Sister Michael clapped with joy!
All services will be held in Assisi House, 600 Red Hill Road, on Tuesday, June 22. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 9:30 A.M followed by viewing. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 A.M. Burial will be in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston. Sister Michael Joseph is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.