Sister Evamarie Gillcrist, O.P. – On Sept. 16, Sister Evamarie Gillcrist gave her adventuresome spirit to God in death. She was 95 and dedicated 78 years to religious life as a Sister of St. Dominic.
Sister Evamarie, born March 2, 1924, in Peoria, Ill., lived in Rock Island, Chicago, Pleasantville and Freeport, N.Y. before graduating from Holy Redeemer Elementary School in 1937. Sister Evamarie entered the Sisters of St. Dominic Sept. 7, 1941. On Aug. 4, 1942 she received the habit and her religious name Sister Marie Daniel. One year later she pronounced her religious vows.
Her first assignment was to St. Catherine of Sienna School in St. Albans,1943 – 1954.
“St. Catherine’s was like home,” she said. “I learned so much from the faith and love of those wonderful families.”
She taught at St. Bartholomew H.S., Elmhurst, and Dominican Commercial H.S., Jamaica, 1954 – 1958.
From Dominican Commercial she volunteered for the Amityville Dominican missions in Puerto Rico. She taught five years in Colegio Santissimo Rosario in Yauco 1958-1963, three summers at Catholic University in Ponce, and one year at Colegio San Agustin in Isabela 1963 – 1964. These years brought a radicalizing perspective to her life, one she valued profoundly. Upon returning to the States, Sister taught Spanish in Bishop McDonnell H.S. 1964 – 1965, All Saints H.S. 1965-1967 and Queen of the Rosary Academy, Amityville 1969-1974.
In the academy, she not only taught Spanish but handled public relations by publishing a newspaper for students and alumnae. She was later invited by the former Tablet editor Don Zirkel to join as editorial staff in 1975. She spent 13 fruitful years covering noteworthy events in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as publishing a 20-page monthly newspaper in Spanish, “Nuevo Amanecer.” In this last capacity, she covered Pope John Paul II’s first visit to Puebla and Oaxaca in Mexico, and did investigative reporting on base communities in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Caracas, Venezuela.
“The Hispanic-American Catholic community of Brooklyn and Queens is most grateful for the many contributions that Sister Evamarie did on behalf of our communities in the diocese,” said Mario Paredes, who worked with her during her time at The Tablet. “She was an outstanding editor of Nuevo Amanecer. She was eager to learn about the roots of our people. She was a remarkable religious woman and was very passionate about being the voice of the voiceless.”
Her next adventure was as a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages within the structure of the Queens Borough Public Library. She helped hundreds of immigrants in their quest for a better life. Her other experiences took her to Bedford-Stuyvesant as a member of the New Horizon Adult Education Program from 1991 – 1994 and then to Most Holy Trinity Parish, Brooklyn in 1994 to teach English as a second language.
Sister Evamarie is survived by her brothers Daniel and James and her sisters Mary Flynn, Anne Gunshenan and Frances Quitzau. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Sept. 25 at St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Motherhouse, Amityville. Burial in the Sisters’ cemetery followed.