In Memoriam: Sister Francis Joseph, R.A.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sr. Francis Joseph (Rachel) Scarpello, R.A., former assistant director of the Faith-Justice Institute, passed away on Feb. 28, 2013. She was 93. 

To all who knew her, she was a remarkable and very wise woman.

Sr. Francis organized the Outreach Lecture Series for the Faith-Justice Institute at SJU as a way to connect the University with the wider Philadelphia Catholic community.  Saint Joseph’s renamed the series after her in 2011.

"For over 30 years Sr. Francis Joseph was a tour-de-force at Saint Joseph's, sharing the Church's teaching on social justice.  Many of us have a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith and a more just society because of her,” said Dan R. Joyce, S.J., assistant to the vice president for mission and identity and director of the ACESJU Teaching Fellows Program.

Sr. Francis committed her life to helping and supporting the lives and faith of others by living and working in the world’s most desperate communities.

While serving in the Philippines, she was instrumental in organizing, funding and building the Maryville Housing Project in Manila, providing housing to the impoverished and suffering community.

“Francis felt compelled to help those in need and wanted everyone else to do the same.  What was most important to Francis was her pursuit of peace and justice, ” said Elizabeth Norberg, Faith-Justice special projects assistant.

Notably she was the executive secretary for the International Union of Superiors General, coordinating the needs and concerns of 2,285 leaders of Roman Catholic religious orders worldwide. After her vocation took her to Japan and Paris, Sr. Francis was called back to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1980 to become part of the Peace and Justice ministry.

Through organizing a lecture series of local, regional and national leaders of justice, Sr. Francis provided Saint Joseph’s and the larger Philadelphia faith-based communities with many opportunities for dialogue around important socially conscious topics.

“She truly touched every life that she encountered,” said Ann Marie Jursca Keffer, associate director of the Faith-Justice Institute.  “Through her love, wisdom and persistence she served the world both in simple and profound ways.”




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