Aston, PA-Sister Rachel Elias, OSF, died in Assisi House on May 16. She was eighty years of age and had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for fifty-two years. Sister Rachel (Marian Irene Elias) was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Pottstown High School and was a member of St. Aloysius Parish. Prior to her entrance into the congregation in 1953, she worked at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Sister Rachel earned a B.A. in History from Neumann College in Aston, Pennsylvania. She ministered primarily in elementary education, congregational ministry, and parish ministry. Her leisure activities included reading and doing arts and crafts.
For the seven years prior to her death, Sister Rachel had ministered in the Diocese of Pensacola/Tallahassee. She served in parish ministry at St. Anne Parish in Marianna and St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chipley from 2001-2008.
Sister Rachel ministered for thirty-one years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. From 1955-1956 she worked in the office at St. Mary Hospital. She taught at St. Aloysius School in Pottstown (1967-1968) and St. Stanislaus School in Lansdale (1972-1974). From 1974-1996 she served as part of the generalate staff for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and lived at Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston. From 1996-2000 she lived in Pottstown and ministered as a caregiver for her mother. In 2000 she moved to Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston where she ministered as librarian for a year. In April 2008 she moved to Assisi House where she served in prayer ministry.
Sister Rachel ministered for seven years in the Diocese of Harrisburg, teaching at St. Gertrude School, Lebanon (1960-1963) and Holy Trinity School, Columbia (1963-1967). In the Diocese of Allentown Sister Rachel taught at Sacred Heart School (1968-1969) and St. Francis School (1971-1972), both in Allentown, and at St. Joseph School, Easton, (1969-1971). She also ministered in the Diocese of Trenton, teaching at Immaculate Conception School (1956-1960).
All services will be held in Assisi House, 600 Red Hill Road, on May 21. 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 Rachel is survived by her sister, Lucille Trimm of South Hills, Virginia; three brothers: Thomas Elias of Hendersonville, North Carolina; David Elias of Murphy North Carolina; and Victor Elias of Portugal; and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to Franciscan Ministries Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.