Sister Elizabeth Mary Gildea, CSJ, (formerly Sister Mary Eustelle), a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 65 years, died on July 30, 2023 at Maria Regina Residence, Brentwood, New York. She was 83 years old.
Sister Mary grew up in Holy Name parish, Brooklyn, along with her twin brother, John, her sister, Patricia, and brother, Charles, where she and her sister and brothers were nurtured in a strong faith. After graduating from Holy Name Elementary School and St. Brendan’s High School, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1957.
In the years that followed, Sister Mary earned a BS in Education from Brentwood College, an MS in Education from Queens College, an MA in Religion from Fordham University and NYS Certification in Administration and Supervision from Manhattan College, all of which prepared her for the different ministries in which she would become involved.
Sister Mary’s teaching career began on the elementary level, in grades three through eight, at Our Lady of Good Counsel (Brooklyn), and included years at Holy Name of Mary in Valley Stream, Holy Family in Flushing, St. Clare in Rosedale, and Immaculate Conception (Jamaica).
This was followed by years as principal of St. Pascal Baylon in St. Albans, Immaculate Conception in Jamaica, and Queen of Peace in Kew Gardens, always working to build a faith community that merged school and parish life.
In 1994, Sister Mary answered a call to her special place, Immaculate Conception, to work with the Passionate Fathers in parish ministry and accepted the position of Director of Religious Education. Who she was and what she did in the years that followed planted seeds of a Gospel-valued life.
Msgr. John Gildea, Sister Mary’s twin brother, celebrated her Mass of Christian Burial on Aug. 5, 2023, in Sacred Heart Chapel, Brentwood. Father John Maloney, Father Peter Okajima, Father James Price, CP, and Father Christopher Cleary, CP, concelebrated. Deacon Timothy Gladstone proclaimed the Gospel.
Sister Mary’s burial followed in Calvary Cemetery, Brentwood.