Sr. Marie Murphy (Sr. Leo Marie Murphy), OP, 94, died on Feb. 18, 2019, in St. Catherine of Siena Healthcare Center, Caldwell, N.J. A woman of kindness, compassion, gentle smile, and a joyful spirit, Sr. Marie served God and the Congregation faithfully for 72 years.

Born in Bayonne, N.J., Sister Marie first learned of God’s love for her from her parents, Leo and Mary Murphy.  Her concern for and care of her cousins lasted a lifetime!

Sister entered the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell on Feb. 27, 1947; received the Dominican habit on Sept. 5, 1947; made first profession on Sept. 6, 1948, and final profession on Sept. 6, 1954.

Sister earned her BS in social studies and art history from Caldwell College (Caldwell University).  Marie was a devoted elementary school teacher in Bridgeport, Conn., St. John’s in Jersey City, in Upper Montclair, N.J., in Mobile, Ala., and in Irvington, N.J. Sister taught religion, typing, and art history at Mt. St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell and was treasurer for Mt. St. Dominic Academy Grade School.

Most of us remember Marie’s compassion for us as we tried to navigate Social Security issues medical insurance.  She coordinated all those complexities with smoothness and grace. She simply took our paperwork with a smile said, “Don’t worry, I’ll handle it!”  And she did!!  What a gift!! 

We will never know the extent of her attentive kindness – taking care of all sorts of “little things” that pop up in any organization, even convents!!  We only realized how much she did after she moved to St. Catherine’s.

Her love of the ocean spanned her lifetime and for her was a meeting place between her and God.  Who knows the secrets they shared – but we all can attest to the ocean’s work at enlarging Marie’s heart!!  Ocean scenes were among her favorite subjects as she painted those lovely pieces and these paintings are among the treasures of many of us.

Marie was a walker – frequenting the shops in downtown Caldwell.  There she met so many people for whom her cheerful presence embodied the Good News for them!!  As she lived in St. Catherine’s during her last years with us, her wave and smile welcomed people as they exited the elevator or looked up to the balcony in Chapel!  Her quiet joy was infectious!!

Sister Marie exemplified the Gospel message to love one another as God loved her. In each ministry she brought God to those who benefitted from her common sense, joy in living, and deep concern for their well-being.

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