Tale of two cemeteries

The Province Leadership Team decided in 2019 to move Sisters’ graves from our private Good Shepherd cemetery in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, to a perpetual care cemetery under the Diocese of Scranton. Leadership made the decision because no Sisters had lived in Scranton for at least 10 years, and the private cemetery needed much work.

The actual work of relocating Sisters’ graves occurred in the summer of 2019. Bishop  Joseph C. Bambera, Diocese of Scranton, generously donated the land and greatly reduced the costs of reinterment at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, Pennsylvania.

Dominic Rinaldi, Director of Catholic Cemeteries in the Diocese of Scranton, donated his expertise and time to coordinate and oversee the project. This also involved the work of Chris Calvey and his son Chris Jr. of Jennings Calvey Funeral Home, along with RLE Enterprises (excavator), and the diocesan attorney. Each of these individuals gave us generous discounts on the price of the work. We had to petition the County Court, as laws govern the handling of human remains to maintain respect and dignity.

The work proceeded with good weather, safe conditions for the workers, and an atmosphere of peace that was noticed by everyone involved. The work was almost finished, when one of the workers went around the edges of the cemetery making sure all the graves had been located. His shovel gave a “clunk” and seven more graves were found. One of the graves was that of the first superior of Clarks Summit, Mother Mary Sacred Heart Malone. It’s like she was saying, “You are not leaving us behind!” So it was back to the court for the second petition, and the work was concluded.

Due to harsh winters in Clarks Summit, the headstones were cleaned and stored for the winter. Then Covid-19 hit, so the work at the new cemetery was not completed until October 2020. The headstones were all placed, and the restored Pieta was carefully set down. New grass has been planted.

When first asked to coordinate this project, I said yes, although I was a little reluctant because of the nature of the work. All of the people involved were wonderful. This project became a great blessing in my life.

The 65 deceased Sisters are now in their (second) final resting place, with the mass grave of Good Shepherd Sisters from Norristown, Pennsylvania, (their third ‘final’ resting place), with guaranteed perpetual care in a Catholic cemetery. Yes, “missioning” can happen even after death!

I have many new friends in heaven. May they all rest in peace. Thanks be to God that all proceeded exceedingly well with the project.

Please remember to pray for our generous benefactors.

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Patricia Marie Barnette

Patricia Marie Barnette

Patricia Marie Barnette, RGS, is a Sister of the Good Shepherd and ministers as a licensed professional counselor. She has worked in the post-abortion healing ministry for more than thirty years, helping women and men find peace and healing through the love of Jesus Christ.