Sister Mary Clifford Soisson, SC, age 89 and a Sister of Charity for 70 years, died peacefully, Tuesday, February 2, 2010, on the Feast of the Presentation, at Caritas Christi, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg.
Born Eileen Soisson to Albert J. and Susan Marie (Creese) Soisson, she received her education at Assumption Elementary School and Bellevue High School.
She received a scholarship to Seton Hill College. There, she decided to attend daily Mass and join the students who prayed the rosary. Eileen participated in many extra-curricular activities, where she got to know the Sisters.
Eileen entered the congregation of the Sisters of Charity on September 8, 1939, from Assumption Parish in Bellevue and pronounced her vows in January, 1942.
She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers: A. Howard, Rev. F. Clifford, and Richard Soisson; and two sisters: Jean (Donald) Beatty and Anna Mae (Jack) Dickason.
She is survived by a sister, Sister Miriam Richard Soisson, SC.
Sister earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and history from Seton Hill College, Greensburg, PA, and a master's degree in religious education from Mundelein College, Chicago.
A teacher and administrator, Sister Mary Clifford taught students of the intermediate and junior high school level in diocesan schools of Altoona-Johnstown, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh. She was principal at St. John Evangelist School, Pittsburgh, and St. Teresa School, Munhall (1954-1959).
From 1968 until 1971, Sister Mary Clifford ministered in a flexible new apostolate of adult education known as the "Adult Institute" in the Diocese of Greensburg, under the direction of Bishop William G. Connare. The goal of this program was to teach adults how to present the changes in catechesis after Vatican Council II. This involved much evening work and traveling to parishes and schools.
After this, most of Sister's assignments were related to catechesis and pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh, Maryland, and Arizona. She served as a pastoral minister at Sacred Heart Parish in Glyndon, MD, and ministered as a Coordinator of Religious Education at Resurrection, Brookline (1970-1975), St. Valentine, Bethel Park, (both in the Pittsburgh area), and in Arizona at St. Theresa, Phoenix, and St. John Evangelist, Tucson.
She served as co-manager of Maryhouse in Brookline, a residence for low-income, independent women, from 1992 to 1993.
In her final ministry away from the motherhouse, she volunteered to train altar servers at Sacred Heart, Shadyside (Pittsburgh).
After her retirement from the active apostolate, Sister Mary Clifford volunteered her service as a nurse's aide and chauffeur at Caritas Christi. In addition to doctors' appointments, she drove many sisters to vacation spots, enjoying the swims, games, and sports. She volunteered to shop for the community or for individual sisters. She was a faithful Steelers fan and had a great sense of humor.
Visitation at the motherhouse, Caritas Christi. Funeral Mass Friday, February 5, in the Chapel of the Assumption, Caritas Christi.
Information from the Funeral Liturgy Reflection by Sr. Francis de Sales Joyce, SC, and the Tribune-Review Obituary, courtesy of the SC Archives.
Edited and partially submitted by Member Angela (#48520699), who taught with the Sisters of Charity for 30 years.
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