Sisters, priests and brothers have lived more than 700 years in service to the Church
The following religious are celebrating jubilees this year in the Diocese of Wilmington.
Bishop Malooly was the main celebrant of a 4 p.m. Mass to honor them on April 4 at Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington.
Ursuline Sister Joanne Desmond was born in Wilmington in 1925 to Irish immigrants John J. and Mary Toomey Desmond. The youngest of their four daughters, Sister Joanne began her education at St. Thomas the Apostle School, moving to Ursuline Academy in third grade.
After graduating from Ursuline in 1943, Sister Joanne attended Immaculata College in Immaculata, Pa., and entered the Ursuline order in Beacon, N.Y., in 1944. A graduate of the College of New Rochelle, she holds a master’s degree in musicology from Catholic University and did post-graduate work at the Westminster Choir College. A gifted musician, Sister Joanne taught music and directed choirs and glee clubs at Ursuline Academies in Bronx, N.Y., and Wilmington and at the College of New Rochelle.
She also served as treasurer and as admissions director at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, and she was a member of the first diocesan Liturgical Commission. Currently, she serves with Elena Delle Donne as honorary co-chair of the Ursuline Capital Campaign.
When the Ursuline Convent closed in 2014, Sister Joanne moved to the Lorelton in Wilmington and is a member of the Cathedral of St. Peter Parish.
Sister Mary Joseph Dougherty entered the Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, Md., 70 years ago. Fifty-five of those years were spent as an educator – 50 of them at St. Elizabeth elementary and high schools.
Now retired, she continues to be a sports fan and can often be found cheering for her Philadelphia Phillies, Notre Dame and New England Patriots. Her knitting, crocheting and cross-stitch talents have been put to use in the many afghans, scarves and other pieces that she has made and given as gifts.
Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Rev. Hugh E. Duffy, 85, made his first profession on Jan. 13, 1952, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1960. He spent a year teaching at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, then spent 12 years working at the Oblate novitiate in Childs, Md.
From 1974-81, Father Duffy was stationed at the Belvedere Plantation in Nottingham, Pa. He has been at Annecy Hall in Childs since 1981.
Rev. Francis J. Pileggi made his first profession to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Sept. 14, 1952, and was ordained a priest on June 3, 1961. He began his religious life as a high school teacher and over the first 10 years of his priesthood, he was on the faculties of Northeast Catholic in Philadelphia, Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City and Salesian in Detroit.
In 1972, Father Pileggi, 83, began a three-year period during which he was a parochial vicar (associate pastor) at three parishes in southern New Jersey. He returned to Northeast Catholic in 1975 and remained there until 1996, and since 2001 he has been on the staff at Salesianum.
Brother John M. Carroll, 86, entered the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Jan. 19, 1957, and made his perpetual profession seven years later. He spent time on the staff of De Chantal Hall in Lewiston, N.Y., and De Sales Hall in Washington, D.C. before joining the staff at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, where he worked from 1959-75.
In 1975, he began an 18-year tenure on the staff of Brisson Seminary in Center Valley, Pa., and in 1993 he moved to Deshairs House Oblate Residence in Washington. Since 2002, Brother Carroll has been a staff member at Buckley Hall and De Sales Centre in Childs, Md.
Oblate of St Francis de Sales Rev. Albert Gondek, 79, made his first profession on Sept. 14, 1957, and was ordained on Oct. 1, 1966. He was a member of the faculty of Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia from 1967-82, when he moved to Father Lopez High School in Daytona Beach, Fla., for six years.
He moved to parish work in 1988, becoming a parochial vicar at St. Brendan Parish in Ormand Beach, Fla. He was pastor of two parishes in North Carolina, Sacred Heart in Whiteville (1995-98) and Our Lady of the Rosary in Lexington (1998-2015). Father Gondek is currently at the DeSales Centre in Childs.
Rev. John Spellman, 79, made his first profession to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Sept. 14, 1957, and was ordained on Oct. 1, 1966. He was a longtime high school teacher, spending time on the faculties of Father Judge in Philadelphia, Salesianum, and Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa.
From 1972-75, Father Spellman was an active-duty military chaplain in the Navy, serving at Twenty-Nine Palms in California and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. During his second stint at Father Judge, from 1990-93, he was also superior of the Oblate community, and he was director of senior Oblates from 1993-96. He retired in 2012 but returned to Father Judge from 2013-16 and now lives at Annecy Hall in Childs.
Rev. John M. Mokluk, 76, entered the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Aug. 21, 1962 and was ordained eight years later. Before entering education, he was the chaplain of the Neumann Pastoral Center in Silver Spring, Md.
Father Mokluk was a teacher at Father Judge (1974-85) and Northeast Catholic (1985-95) in Philadelphia before beginning a 16-year period at Salesianum. He retired in 2012 and lives at the Salesianum School Oblate Residence.
Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Brother Joseph Hayden, 69, made his first profession on Jan. 22, 1967, and his perpetual profession on June 11, 1972. He spent his first year with the congregation as a staff member at Brisson Seminary in Center Valley, Pa., then joined the staff of Villa Maria Retreat Center in Wernersville, Pa., where he remained until 1981.
After a year working in the missions in South Africa, Brother Hayden returned to Villa Maria, and since 1985 he has been a staff member and plant manager at DeSales Centre in Childs.
Rev. Joseph G. Morrissey, 68, made his first profession with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales on Aug. 20, 1967, and was ordained on May 21, 1977. He has served in a number of roles during his time as an Oblate.
Father Morrissey spent seven years as a teacher and studies director at Father Judge in Philadelphia. He moved to Wilmington in 1984 to become provincial and treasurer of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates. He was treasurer until 1996 and provincial until 2008.
That year, he moved to the Salesianum Oblate Community and took on the role of provincial assistant for temporal affairs and special assistant to the president at Salesianum. He became vice president for finances at Salesianum and general treasurer in 2009, and since 2012 he has been a special assistant to the president at the school.
A Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Sister Theresa Marie Elitz is currently a mental health counselor and spiritual director for the Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s three days a weeks. She works the other two days in pastoral services for her religious community.
Born and educated in Philadelphia, Sister entered the congregation in 1967. She was a nurse and worked in hospitals in Philadelphia. She did public health work in Lancaster, Pa., and Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Sister Theresa Marie taught nursing in Trenton, N.J., and Ponce, Puerto Rico. She headed a program in Tenares, Dominican Republic, to teach health educators to help their people.
When she returned to the United States, she studied counseling and spiritual direction at Neumann University in Aston, Pa. After graduation, she worked at Catholic Charities for three years before founding the Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s.
Sister Margaret Regina Halloran is a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor and is originally from southwest Philadelphia. While in elementary school, she was encouraged to volunteer at the Little Sisters of Poor home with her classmates. During these visits, Sister Margaret experienced the call of Christ. After graduating from West Catholic Girl’s High School, Sister Margaret joined the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1964.
During her years as a Little Sister, Sister Margaret has served the elderly in many different homes throughout the United States, including 12 years as provincial superior in the Brooklyn Province. She is currently the mother superior of Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark.