Aston, PA—Sister Viola Marie O’Keefe, OSF, 83, died in Assisi House on October 8. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 63 years. Sister Viola Marie (Catherine Frances O’Keefe) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up she was a member of All Saints Parish in Roxbury and a graduate of Holy Trinity High School. She entered the congregation in 1946 and professed her first vows in 1949. Sister Viola studied to be an LPN at St. Mary Hospital in Philadelphia and later earned her RN at Delaware Technical and Community College in Wilmington, Delaware. She ministered in education, childcare, and healthcare.
Sister Viola Marie began her years in ministry in the Diocese of Trenton and served there for 14 years. She taught at holy Angels School in Trenton (1951-1952) and at St. Joseph School in Raritan (1952-1959). She also ministered at St. Michaels Childrens Home, Hopewell (1949-1951, 1962-1965); St Clare Hall at St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton (1976); and Morris Hall, Lawrenceville (1976-1977).
Sister Viola’s 14 years of ministry in the Diocese of Wilmington included working at St. Francis Hospital (1977-78, 1980-1981); the Ministry of Caring Day Care, Wilmington (1992-2001); and House of Joseph II (2001-2004).
Sister Viola Marie served for 12 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She ministered at St. Agnes Hospital (1973-1974) and at the Franciscan AIDS Baby House (1989-1992). In 2004 she moved to Assisi House in Aston where she served in prayer ministry until her death.
Sister Viola’s nine years of service in the Harrisburg Diocese included teaching at Holy Trinity School, Columbia (1959-1960); St. Joseph School, Dallastown (1960-1962); St. Mary School, York (1965-1967); St. Joseph School, Lancaster (1967-1968); and St. Gertrude School, Lebanon (1968-1971).
From 1981-1989, Sister Viola Marie ministered in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, serving at St. Vincent Childcare Center in Timonium.
Sister Viola also ministered for two years in the Archdiocese of Boston, teaching at Blessed Sacrament School in Walpole (1971-1973).
All services will be held in Assisi House on Thursday, October 11. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 9:30 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 Viola Marie is survived by her sister, Mary Thurston, 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.