Sister Francine Fehrenbach, MSC

1930 – 2024

Sister Francine was born in Philadelphia and was warmly welcomed by her parents, two older brothers, and a large extended family. She grew up in St. Helena Parish where she attended the elementary school and then Little Flower High School. It was there that she met our MSC Sisters for the first time. She became very close to Sr. Frances Marie Yandrisivits, who had a tremendous influence on her and was very instrumental in her decision to enter our community. Sr. Francine studied at Villanova and Kutztown University and made her First Vows on August 19, 1952.

The following year she began her teaching ministry at Holy Family School in Nazareth. For the next 40 years Sr. Francine taught God’s little ones in various schools in the Diocese of Allentown, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Palos Heights, Illinois, and Athens, Georgia. After she retired from full time teaching, Sr. Francine served as school librarian in Philadelphia and Nazareth. She also tutored students at Easton Catholic High School.

I, Sr. Rosemarie Sommers, was blessed to have Sr. Francine as my second-grade teacher at Holy Family School in Nazareth. She was a wonderful teacher, loved by her students. She was compassionate and caring, patient and kind, and had a special gift for making learning fun. She was “the Fun Nun.” That year she also prepared us to make our First Holy Communion. I was so inspired by Sr. Francine that, already in second grade, I began to think that I wanted to be a Sister like her and teach little children. The seed was planted even at that young age.

Sr. Francine was a joy to live with in community. Just like in the classroom, she was full of fun and had a great sense of humor. She enjoyed watching sports especially cheering on her beloved Philadelphia teams. She was a good listener, always interested in what was going on in your life and ready to offer her support. Her caring ways extended to everyone she met.

In her retirement years, Sr. Francine first lived at Sacred Heart Villa and then, in 2019, moved to St. Joseph Villa, the retirement home of the Bernardine Sisters. While she resided at Sacred Heart Villa, she was in charge of car maintenance. She knew a lot about cars since her father owned and operated a gas station for many years. Recently her health began to decline. On Sunday, she received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, while surrounded by her Sisters and her niece Beth and husband David, as one of her favorite hymns “Precious Lord” was sung. The next day, our loving God called Sr. Francine home to Heaven.

In her final message to us, Sr. Francine wrote: “Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow but remember me in every tomorrow. Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles. Because I will remember you all and look on with a smile. Understand in your hearts I’ve only gone to rest a little while. As long as I have the love of each of you, I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.”