Aston, PA—Sister Rita Joseph Knapp, OSF, 98, died in Assisi House on June 2. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 77 years. Sister Rita Joseph was born in Philadelphia where she was a member of Epiphany Parish and a graduate of St. Anthony Commercial School. She entered the congregation in 1933, completed her high school education in the novitiate school, and professed her first vows in 1936. Her sister, Sister Margaret Mary Knapp (now deceased), was also a member of the congregation. Although her early years in ministry were spent in elementary education, she later became a registered radiologic technologist and ministered in healthcare.
Sister Rita Joseph ministered for 56 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, serving as a supervisor in the radiology department in several hospitals. She worked at St. Mary Hospital in Philadelphia from 1949-1957 and again from 1982-1988. From 1965-1982 and again from 1988-1990, she ministered at St. Agnes Medical Center. She worked at Assisi House, the congregation’s retirement residence in Aston, Pennsylvania, as a coordinator and pastoral associate (1990-1999). She volunteered in the mail room and as a sacristan at Neumann University (1999-2009). From 2009-2013 she served in prayer ministry in her local convent in Aston. In 2013 she moved to Assisi House where she also served in prayer ministry until her death.
Sister Rita Joseph also ministered in healthcare at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, for eight years (1957-1965). During her early years in education, she taught at St. Joseph School in York, Pennsylvania (1936-1940) and St. Boniface School in New Haven, Connecticut (1940-1946). She also cared for the children at St. Michael Orphanage in Hopewell, New Jersey (1946-1949).
All services will be held in Assisi House, 600 Red Hill Road, Aston, on Thursday, June 6. 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 Rita Joseph is survived by her nieces and nephews, cousins, 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.