Sister Phyllis Marie's Story
Teacher, Missionary, Social Worker
Sister Phyllis Marie Zaworski RSM passed away on March 4, 2018. Phyllis was born in Buffalo, NY, to Joseph and Florence Zaworski.
After attending St. Agatha School, South Buffalo and Our Lady of Victory, Lackawanna, she joined the Religious Sisters of Mercy on September 15, 1958. While earning a BA in Education from Medaille College, formerly Mt. St. Joseph, Sister Phyllis taught at Holy Family, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. James, Jamestown and Immaculate Conception, Wellsville. This teaching experience prepared her for ministry in the Philippines.
Departing from San Francisco on September 24,1968 was a dream come true. "This was the reason why I entered the Buffalo Mercy Community. As a teacher in Kolambugan and principal in in Jimenez, I felt the spirit of Catherine McAuley and Vatican II were so alive; Mission and Charism were one." At Makati Medical Center, Manila, Sr. Phyllis developed a desire for becoming a hospital chaplain. With Clinical Pastoral Care courses begun in Manila Sr. Phyllis returned to the United States and continued studies at Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Boston, thus becoming a certified chaplain.
An MA degree in Psychotherapy and MSW degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago provided the background for the 28 years Sr. Phyllis served the people of the Diocese of Buffalo through Catholic Charities Services. While at Loyola University Sister was honored with the highest award that is given on a Jesuit campus, The Alpha Sigma Nu Award for excellence in Scholarship and Service. As an accomplished violinist she was asked to join the University Orchestra.
Being multitalented, many family and friends enjoyed receiving the beautiful weavings, quilts, cards, photos and other crafts that she made and gave as gifts.
In 2008, the Mercy Community requested that Sr. Phyllis work with Mercy Communities in New York, Pennsylvania and Philippines as Vocation Minister, also coordinating efforts with the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. After six years, Sister was called in another direction which included volunteer work at Roswell Park. The words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, "to give and not to count the cost" were profound motivators in her life.
Sister Phyllis is survived by her sister, Gloria Ricotta; and nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at Mercy Center, 625 Abbott Rd., Tuesday, March 6 from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM with a vigil service at 7:30 PM, Wednesday, March 7 from 2-4 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 4 PM, March 7 in Mercy Center's Chapel.
Memorials may be made to the Sisters of Mercy.
Arrangements by Reddington Funeral Home.
Published on March 6, 2018