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Born: Jan 19, 1927

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SISTER MARY BURKE-GAFFNEY, RSCJ Mary Louise Burke-Gaffney, RSCJ, was born on January 19, 1927, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, daughter of Patrick Burke-Gaffney and Mary Henebery, both of whom had come from Ireland. The only daughter in a family of four boys, she and her brothers attended St. Ignatius Parish School. Her high school education was at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Winnipeg. Then, after a year in Montreal, she attended Maryville College in St. Louis, obtaining in 1948 a B.A. with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics. In September 1949 Mary entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in Albany, N.Y. and made her first vows in Albany in May, 1952. Her final profession was in Rome in February, 1958. In her early years as a religious she taught in Sacred Heart schools in Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver. After completing a library degree at U.B.C. she acted as librarian at a Winnipeg public school. When one reads Sr. Burke-Gaffney's teaching assignments during the years 1952-1977 one notices the breadth of her abilities: teacher of mathematics, physics, English, history, Latin, liturgical singing, librarian. She had received an M.A. in Education from Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in 1958. Sr. Burke-Gaffney was a life-long student, a lover of education and she considered herself fortunate to have studied theology at Regis College in Toronto and at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. Wherever she was located Sr. Burke-Gaffney was eager to assist in the local church. In the Vancouver Sisters' Conference she worked on the Social Justice committee and similarly in Montreal. She also served as librarian in Toronto's Ecumenical Forum and gave many years of service at Montreal's Ecumenical Centre. In 1987 Sr. Burke-Gaffney became the executive secretary of the Canadian Religious Conference- West. In later years she was a member of the Montreal St. Thomas More Centre for Adult Education eagerly pursuing contemporary philosophical trends. Sister Burke-Gaffney was predeceased by her parents and her four brothers: Ted (Helen), Desmond, S.J., Frank (Lois), and John (Isobel). She is survived by numerous nephews and nieces, all of whom she loved dearly and for all of whom she prayed devotedly. Her death occurred at Parkstone Residence in Halifax on November 8, 2016. A vigil will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with prayers at 7:00 p.m. at Barat Residence, 1455 Summer Street, Halifax. Funeral Mass will take place at Barat Residence on Monday, November 14 at 2:00 pm.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 14, 2016

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