Obituary: Sister Mary Bernadette, M.I.C.M.

Sister Mary Bernadette Maluf, M.I.C.M. (January 8, 1920 – December 16, 2011), founding member of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Prioress of Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire, and educator died on Friday, December 16, at the age of 91.

Mary Kathleen Healy Maluf (her name before entering the convent) was born in Detroit, Michigan, the only child of Dr. Gaillard and Mrs. Patricia Healy. She attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, taking a B.A. in education. For three years, she taught in Catholic schools in Michigan.

She married Dr. Fakhri Maluf of Beirut, Lebanon, in 1943.

In 1949, Mary became one of the pioneer members of Father Leonard Feeney’s religious Order, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As has happened in rare cases in the Church’s history, by mutual consent, both Dr. Maluf and Mrs. Maluf took religious vows and lived separately in the monastery and convent, where they were known respectively as Brother Francis and Sister Mary Bernadette. Both participated in the educational and missionary work of the fledgling Congregation.

Moving from Still River, Massachusetts to Richmond, New Hampshire in 1988, Sister Mary Bernadette was instrumental in the founding of Saint Benedict Center, Richmond, and the Center’s  Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Besides teaching in the school, she was its principal for ten years. She was also active in the community’s missionary work until December of 2003.

Sister Mary Bernadette is survived by her children, Mariam Maluf of Leominster, MA., Peter Maluf, of Worcester, MA., Leonard Maluf, of Leominster, MA., Sister Anna Maria Maluf, M.I.C.M., of Vienna, OH, and Agnes Malouf-Hood of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and by one grand-daughter, July Anne O’Brien, of Los Angeles, CA. The religious Brothers and Sisters at Saint Benedict Center will mourn her as their beloved Sister in Christ.

Sister Mary Bernadette will be waked in the chapel of Saint Benedict Center on Fay Martin Road in Richmond, New Hampshire on Wednesday, December 21 from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM.

The funeral will be a sung Requiem Mass in the traditional Latin Rite, offered by the Reverend David Phillipson at Saint Joseph Church in Hinsdale. The Mass will be Thursday, December 22, at 11:00 AM, with a Rosary preceding at 10:30.