Sister Loretta Marie Devoy died Saturday morning, June 18, at age 82, having served God for almost 65 years as a Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville.
Born Anne Marie Devoy on August 3, 1939, her early days with her family were spent in Brooklyn, and later in Freeport, New York.
Anne Marie attended Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn where she excelled in academics, music, and athletics. She played piano, organ, and bass violin and was in both the bishop’s and community’s orchestra.
On September 7, 1957, Anne entered the novitiate at Amityville and received the habit and her religious name, Sister Loretta Marie, on August 5, 1958. A year later, on August 7, 1959, she professed her first vows, and her final vows were professed on August 7, 1962.
Sister Loretta’s ministry was in education. She received a Bachelor of Arts in French at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and a Master of Science in Education at St. John’s University, Jamaica. At Fordham University, Bronx, she earned a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Theology/History of Christianity. Her doctoral dissertation was titled, “A Study of the Eucharistic Texts of Teilhard de Chardin.”
From 1959 to 1970, Sister Loretta ministered as an elementary school teacher at Sacred Heart, Cambria Heights; St. Thomas the Apostle, Woodhaven; Corpus Christi, Woodside; and St. Elizabeth, Ozone Park. In 1970 she was appointed principal at St. Luke Whitestone. In 1973 she was elected to leadership in the Congregation as Regional Director. After her term ended, she became principal of St. Ignatius Loyola, Hicksville. She was known to possess an inclusive style of leadership, mentoring many faculty members, both lay and religious. She was thoughtful and articulate, and her input was appreciated.
After completing her doctorate, Sister Loretta taught theology, first at St. Peter’s College, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and then for almost three decades at St. John’s University, Jamaica. She was a past president of the College Theology Society and a past member of the Board of Trustees at Molloy University. As a contributor to The Tablet, she broke open the scriptures for readers.
Sister Loretta was a deeply prayerful woman and had a profound devotion to the Eucharist. It is, perhaps, fitting that her death occurred as we were about to celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Truly, Sister Loretta entered eternity with perfect confidence.
The wake and funeral for Sister Loretta were held in St. Albert Chapel in Amityville on Wednesday, June 22. A prayer service was held, followed by the Mass of Christian burial. Interment followed in the sisters’ cemetery.
Sister Joan Mary Hepburn, OP was called into the fullness of life on Friday, June 24 by the God she loved and served so well. Joan was 84 years old and had been a Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville for almost 66 years.
On September 24, 1937, Viola Grace and Marcus James Hepburn welcomed their baby daughter Joan. They raised Joan and her sisters, Grace and Dorothy, as well as her brothers, Marcus and Bill, in Immaculate Conception Parish in Jamaica, Queens. Joan attended Dominican Commercial High School and entered the Dominican Congregation on September 8, 1956.
On August 5, 1957, Sister Joan was invested with the Dominican habit and received her religious name, Sister Mark Marie. A year later Sister Joan professed her vows and was assigned to her first mission at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Lindenhurst.
Sister Joan, who graduated from St. Francis College, also taught the elementary school children in St. Aloysius, St. Mary Star of the Sea, and Our Lady of Refuge in Brooklyn, as well as in St. Joseph School in Long Island City. In addition to her time in elementary school, Sister Joan taught in the business departments of both Bishop McDonnell High School and St. Michael High School.
In 1979 , Sister Joan went to American Martyrs School in Bayside, ministering as principal. Six years later she moved to Brooklyn and served as principal in Our Lady of Solace School in Coney Island.
In 1993, after a one-year sabbatical at the Dominican Retreat Center in Kingston, South Carolina, and St. Stephen Priory in Dover, Massachusetts, Sister Joan returned to Our Lady of Refuge, this time, as assistant principal. From 2002 until 2008 she used her administrative talents at SS. Joachim & Anne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.
Sister Joan’s volunteer ministries included working with the Sisters in Service when she spent weekends at the Motherhouse.
The wake and funeral were held in St. Albert Chapel on Thursday, June 30. A prayer service was followed by a Mass of Christian burial. Interment was in the sisters’ cemetery.