Obituaries, Week of October 28, 2023

Msgr. James F. Spengler, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was born on November 17, 1942, in New York, was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1968, and died Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. 

Msgr. Spengler served the Diocese of Brooklyn as pastor of the parishes of St. Rose of Lima, St. Gerard Majella, and Our Lady of Mercy, all in Brooklyn. He also served as administrator of the Parish of Holy Cross, and as parochial vicar for the Parish of St. Ambrose, both in Brooklyn. 

Msgr. Spengler was also episcopal vicar for Queens South. On Feb. 25, 1988, Msgr. Spengler was named Prelate of Honor. 

Father James Kuroly, the current rector of Cathedral Prep, who succeeded Msgr. Spengler as pastor of St. Rose of Lima, said: “You can always tell the impact of a priest by the joy his people show when he is around them. Msgr. Spengler’s parishioners were always filled with joy in his presence, clearly because he loved his people very much. So I would say his life, in itself, was a homily.” 

A funeral Mass for Msgr. Spengler was celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan Oct. 18 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston. Burial was at St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, New York. 

Sister Mary Albert Page, age 95, a Sister of Mercy for 77 years, died Sept. 6, 2023, at Maria Regina Residence in Brentwood, New York. 

Sister Albert attended elementary school at St. Margaret, Middle Village, and then Bishop McDonnell DHS. Upon graduation, she entered the Sisters of Mercy Novitiate in 1946. 

She was eagerly anticipating celebrating the 77th anniversary of her entrance into the novitiate on Sept. 8 but was instead invited to celebrate that day in the company of the saints, her family, and her sisters who had gone before her. 

Sister Albert’s life ministry was in teaching, with her sense of humor and her gentle, caring way with the students of St. Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands (1949-51); Holy Rosary (1951-53); St. Patrick, Bay Ridge (1953-62); St. Therese of Lisieux (1962-67); and for 56 years at Our Lady of Mercy, Hicksville, where she endeared herself to generations of pupils and parishioners. 

A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Hicksville. Burial was in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York. 

Sister Fresia Toro-Fuenzalida, RSM, age 59, a Sister of Mercy for 25 years, died after a long illness at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx on July 30, 2023. 

Sister was born in Santiago, Chile. As a small child, Fresia suffered severe burns in a fire that left her with multiple scars and injuries. Upon meeting with Sister Louise Dantzig, a Sister of Mercy, who accompanied her to the United States, she underwent many surgeries. 

After returning to her homeland, she accepted the invitation of Sister Camille D’Arienzo, president of the community at that time, to become a Sister of Mercy. She formally entered the community in 1996. 

Her ministry was to serve as a rehabilitation counselor, which she did for many years until her retirement. 

Sister is survived by her brother, Luis, and his wife, Ingrid; her niece Daniela and her husband Alejandro; and grandniece Renata, all of whom are in Chile. 

A funeral Mass was celebrated at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Whitestone and another in Santiago. Burial was in Chile.