Sister Mary Saponara, MSC

1958 – 2024

As in her life and so in her final journey into eternity, Sr. Mary surrendered everything into the tender care of the Heart of Jesus. God alone knows the length and breadth of her generosity while on mission.

From home, Sister Mary developed a love for good food, music, sports, and learning. She identified with her Italian roots and wittingly believed there was no place on earth like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Sister Mary brought the ideals of family into her community and missionary life. Sister Mary loved her family, the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Church, and the Poor with all her heart. Like so many of our Sisters who had gone before her, Sister Mary was comfortable among the poor. “How blessed are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs” (Matthew 5:3).

Sister Mary began her missionary apostolate in education and taught in Holy Family School, Nazareth; St. Henry School, Philadelphia; Mt. Carmel/Holy Rosary and St. Ann School in New York NY prior to her graduate studies. In 1993, Sister Mary brought a Master’s Degree in Divinity and in Social Work to a new mission in Mexico City (San Ramon Nonato Parish) where she developed successful religious education programs for children and for adults and walked with several Mexican women through an initial formation process. She flourished in Mexico for 25 years where she gave the best of her grace-filled self. Her friendship, intelligence and humanity were deeply appreciated in the parish community. Before embarking for the strange and new in the mission in Mexico, she named that which would be her sustaining grace: “to live in the present moment.” What Sister Mary found in Mexico were people easy to love since they do not expect perfection. In Mexico, Sister Mary developed a trusting, prayerful bond with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sister Mary was a great conversationalist who gathered information avidly and shared it with anyone who would listen. She had a passion for guiding everyone to the truths and mysteries of our faith. She was most generous with her time, searching out how to walk that “extra mile” with them. Sister Mary was personable and enthusiastic in her relationships. She was, above all, loyal, a missionary to the core!

In Pope Francis’ quote “Hearts on fire, feet on the move” he referenced the disciples on the way to Emmaus. “Their hearts burned within them, their eyes were opened, and their feet set out on the way” (Lk 24:13-35). Sister Mary’s heart is on fire; her eyes are opened as she enters into eternal life.

United in the Love of God,

Sr. Dorothy Fabritze, MSC

Province Leader