Sister Catherine Benedict Hagens, O.P., who served for more than 70 years as a Sister of St. Dominic, died Feb. 15, after a six-month illness. She was 89.
Born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on July 24, 1932, Teresa Hagens was baptized at St. Cecilia Church. Early on, her family moved to Woodhaven, Queens, where she, her three brothers and two sisters were educated by the Sisters of St. Dominic at St. Elizabeth School. Teresa had an early call to religious life, and in 1946 she chose to spend her high school years at Villa Maria, the Dominican Juniorate in Water Mill, New York.
On September 8, 1950, Teresa entered the novitiate at Amityville as a postulant. She was clothed in the Dominican habit on August 4, 1951 and received her religious name, Sister Catherine Benedict. Her first profession of vows took place on August 6, 1952. Sister Catherine received a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, and a Master of Science from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. She held New York State Permanent Certification in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Her initial assignment was at St. Patrick in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, where she taught elementary grades for eight years. In 1960 she was transferred to Rockville Centre and taught science at St. Agnes Cathedral High School for the next eight years. She then taught science at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip, N.Y., and was Chairperson of the Science Department. This assignment was followed by two years as Assistant Principal at Queen of the Rosary Academy in Amityville.
In 1976, Sister Catherine joined the community at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) in Lindenhurst. There she was Parish Visitor, bringing Holy Communion to homebound parishioners, working with the Golden Agers and with pre-schoolers. In 1985, she became Principal of OLPH school and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2004. During some of those years, she lived in a community at Our Lady of Lourdes, Massapequa, N.Y.
In 2011, Sister Catherine went to live at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse.
All services for Sister Catherine were held in St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse. On Feb. 19, a prayer service took place, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial. After the Mass, Sister Catherine was buried in the sisters’ cemetery.
Sister Mary Ferrer McLean, OP, who served God’s people for 80 years as a Sister of St. Dominic, died Feb. 21 at age 98. Her given name, Mary Ann, was received at her baptism in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Astoria, Queens. Mary Ann entered the Amityville Dominicans from the Juniorate in Watermill, Long Island, on Feb. 2, 1942 and received the habit and her religious name, Sister Mary Ferrer, on August 4, 1942.
She attended Brooklyn College and received degrees in elementary education and data processing. Her first teaching assignment was in elementary education in St. Joseph School in Astoria, where her gift for educating younger minds was uncovered. She continued to spread these gifts, teaching in Cure of Ars, Merrick, N.Y., and St. John, Riverhead, N.Y. Sister Mary Ferrer also served in the role of interim principal at St. Michael, Brooklyn, and Corpus Christi, Woodside. Further teaching experiences were at Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Solace, Brooklyn; St. Francis of Assisi, Long Island City; and St. Boniface in Elmont. Her students and their families had long and loving memories of having her as a teacher.
In the 1980s Sister Mary was called to be a Program Director at Amityville, ministering at the Motherhouse in the area of Social/Support Services.
When Sister Mary retired from active ministry, her service did not diminish. She made rosaries for nursing homes, hospitals and the missions in El Salvador. Sister Mary became a steady volunteer at Catholic Charities across the street from the Motherhouse, especially in the Meals on Wheels Program and at the Senior Citizen Nutrition Center. Returning to her first love in ministry, she volunteered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Lindenhurst working with our sisters.
All services were held in St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse. On Feb. 24, a prayer service was held, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial. Immediately after the Mass, Sister Mary was laid to rest in the sisters’ cemetery.