Sister Rose and Sister Alice
Sister Rose Byrne retired in early January after serving many of her 66 years in religious life at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and in Catholic parishes around Burbank.
Kudos for this 90-year-old Sister of Providence were the subject of a celebration at Mass at St. Finbar Parish on January 4, and a recognition at the January 6, meeting of the Burbank City Council. Sister Rose, who comes from Ireland, spent about 25 years teaching in California and the Pacific Northwest before arriving at the hospital’s medical records department in 1978.
She worked in hospitals in Portland, Ore., and Oakland, Calif., before returning to the San Fernando Valley in 1998. She has served in parish ministry at both St. Patrick Catholic Church in North Hollywood and at St. Finbar Catholic Church in Burbank.
Through her spiritual care and prayer ministry, Sister Rose has been touching patients, their families, doctors, administrators and staff.
The Burbank City Council praised her “outreach daily” to the sick and to the well, especially the “economically needy.”
She also has been a tireless advocate for their needs. Dr. David Gordon, mayor of Burbank, cited “her faith, the Irish twinkle in her eye, her laugh and her smile,” as leading to “untold numbers blessed” by her presence and to substantial funds raised to support the hospital’s needs and services.”
Sister Rose, accompanied by Provincial Superior Judith Desmarais, traveled to her new home at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, in January.
A potluck at St. Joseph Parish on January 24 was a gathering of friends and family of Yakima native Sister Alice St. Hilaire.
In her 67 years as a Sister of Providence, Sister Alice has served in formation, spiritual direction and retreat work.
Besides the dinner, fellowship and entertainment at the parish, there were words of appreciation from many who have felt blessed by Sister Alice’s presence in the Yakima Valley over the years. In addition to Sisters Roberta Rorke, Fe Sumalde and Silvia Troncoso, who live in Yakima, there were many other Sisters of Providence who traveled there for occasion, including Sister Sister Claudia Ruiz, from Bernarda Morin Province, who is here for a cross-cultural experience.
Sunday morning there was a Mass at St. Joseph Parish with Yakima Bishop Joseph J. Tyson as the celebrant and homilist. Because it was Catholic Schools Week, the school choir sang. Bishop Tyson said his mother and Sister Alice went to school together and talked about their “callings and missions.” He also talked about the presence and impact of the Sisters of Providence in Yakima. The Mass ended with a prayer of blessing for Sister Alice, who moved to St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, in February.
Read Bishop Tyson’s homily. (pdf)