Sister Marcella Mary Burgunder, SC Celebrates 100th Birthday
On Sunday, December 19, 2021, a Mass was celebrated to honor Sister Marcella Mary Burgunder’s 100th birthday. Sisters, friends, and family gathered in the Chapel of the Assumption at Caritas Christi to honor this milestone. The Honorable Bishop Larry J. Kulick, J.C.L. graciously delivered the homily and communion to the congregation with the help of Monsignor William R. Rathgeb.
As the community gathered on the 4th Sunday of Advent to reflect on the celebration of the coming of Christ, it was fitting to recognize the gift of 100 years of life God has given to Sister Marcella.
A Pittsburgh native, Sister Marcella has lived a life full of service and ministry. She entered religious life in 1950 after honorably serving in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, a decision she was always glad she made.
While earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Seton Hill College, Sister taught children in primary grades in the Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Phoenix dioceses . In the early 1950s, Sister Marcella began a lifelong ministry in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. She began working in catechetical and social service ministry at the House of Mary and, later, the Frederic Ozanam Center in Pittsburgh. She spent most of her years ministering at St. Joseph House of Hospitality, a residence for men who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.
During her time in the Hill, Sister Marcella Mary assisted patients in the local hospital, paid tribute at local funeral homes, and delivered furniture and clothing to those in need. She also volunteered and visited with elderly at Seton Center. Sister was very active in her social work, but took time to enjoy Korean Card Party games with her beloved community.
Sister Marcella Mary Burgunder was recognized after the liturgy with 4 distinguished honors. The first, presented by Sister Mary Norbert Long, SC, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, was the Proclamation of Sister’s 100th birthday from Congressman Guy Reschenthaler, Representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th district. The second proclamation came from the Westmoreland County Commissioners, Sean Kertes, Douglas Chew and Gina Cerilli Thrasher. Both proclamations congratulated Sister on her life of service to the US Coast Guard and throughout her consecrated life.
Matthew Zamosky, Director of Veterans Affairs for Westmoreland County, presented Sister Marcella Mary with the Seton Hill University Alumni Association’s Veteran Affinity Military Coin which recognizes a milestone or service record for veteran alumni from the University. The coin represents a lifetime of service to country, community, Church, and Seton Hill University throughout her life, along with the milestone of living for a century. This is the second coin ever presented from the Seton Hill University Alumni Association.
The final honor was an Apostolic Blessing from his Holiness Pope Francis given by Bishop Kulick. Sister’s life was joyfully celebrated with blessings and cheer from community, family, and friends.