Raised in Dublin, Pennsylvania, Sister Virginia Longcope graduated from Pennridge High School. In 1959, Sister Virginia made her first profession in the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Reading. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Villanova University.
For 22 years, she taught in various elementary schools in the Allentown and Philadelphia Dioceses. Sister Virginia received a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and she completed a Clinical Pastoral Education Program at a maximum security prison in Columbia, South Carolina. Sister received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of South Carolina.
Sister was employed as a Social Worker at Palmer Work Release Center in Florence, S.C. In 1992, Sister Virginia returned to the Lehigh Valley to start the process of establishing a house for men leaving prison with a history of substance abuse. During that process, she was employed by the Catholic Social Agency as a counselor. In April, 1993, Sister Virginia’s dream became a reality. The house, called Stephen’s Place, was incorporated as a non -profit program. Stephen’s Place believes that men coming out of prison should have a safe, spiritual environment in order to address early recovery issues from substance abuse as well as develop personal life skills.
In May of 2005, Sister Virginia received an Honorary Doctorate from DeSales University and in 2013 she became a Licensed Social Worker.