Rest in Peace: Dorothy Byrne, SP

Sister Dolores

Sister Dorothy Marie Byrne, age 97, a Sister of Providence for 76 years, died April 5, 2021, at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wash. Funeral Mass on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:00am at Sacred Heart Church, Spokane.  Burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane, follows Mass.  Holy Cross Funeral & Cemetery Services is in charge of arrangements.

Sister Dorothy Byrne, SP was born in Lothair, Mont. on November 17, 1923 to John L. Byrne and Minnie C. (Greiner) Byrne. She and her brother Fr. Joseph Byrne were raised in Kevin, Mont., and she attended public school there. She attended the Ursuline Academy in Great Falls, Mont. for four years and graduated from the Academy.

Following a year at the College of Great Falls (now, University of Providence), Sister Dorothy went to work for the Boeing Company in Seattle during World War II. In 1943 she entered the Sisters of Providence at the advice and encouragement of Fr. Charles Suver, S.J. In 1945, Sister Dorothy made first profession and her final vows in 1948.

Sister Dorothy earned a BA in social science from College of Great Falls, Great Falls, Mont. (1954), a MA in history from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash. (1962), and a MRE (Masters in Religious Education) from Seattle University (1974).

Her many ministry assignments included teaching and/or administration at various schools: St. Joseph Academy, Sprague, Wash. (1945-47); St. Francis Xavier School, Missoula, Mont. (1947-49, 1954-56); St. Raphael School, Glasgow, Mont. (1949-53) (Sister Dorothy was one of the foundresses of St. Raphael School); St. Gerard School, Great Falls, Mont. (1953-54); DeSales Catholic High School, Walla Walla, Wash. (1961-63); Sacred Heart Academy, principal and teacher, Missoula, Mont. (1963-64); Marycliff High School, Spokane, Wash. (1967-72). She was local superior of the College of Great Falls, Great Falls, Mont. (1964-67).

From 1972-78, Sister Dorothy was the adult education consultant and later director of the Diocesan Religious Education Office, Diocese of Spokane, Spokane, Wash. In 1978, she was elected to Provincial Leadership of St. Ignatius Province, Sisters of Providence for a four-year term, as Councilor for Religious and Personal Development. She then did parish ministry for 20 years, her favorite ministry, at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Spokane (1982-84); and Sacred Heart Parish as pastoral associate from 1984 to present. She also served for 15 years on the governing board of Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, and other boards.

In 1988, Sister Dorothy experienced the great joy of attending the canonization in Rome of a distant cousin, Fr. Agustine Schoeffler.

Sister Dorothy is preceded in death by her parents and her brother Fr. Joseph Byrne. She is survived by the Sisters in her community. 

To view Sr. Dorothy’s obituary and to sign her memory book, please visit the website for Holy Cross Funeral & Cemetery Services at In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Catholic Charities Eastern Washington.