"They whom we love and lose

are no longer where they were before,

they are now wherever we are."

~ St. John Chrysostom


Sister Gemma Fisher (Sister Arthur Mary)

January 18, 1921 - July 23, 2015

"Come, come unto me; I will make you a jewel. Precious and rare the glory you'll bear in the crown of God." ~Bob Hurd

The morning of July 23, 2015 Sister Gemma Fisher (Sister Arthur Mary) was called home by the God whom she had so faithfully followed as a professed Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary for 72 years. Sister Gemma was born in Oakland, California in 1921. Sister Gemma's presence to and genuine concern for each person was a hallmark of her lifetime of ministries. She was in elementary education as teacher and principal at Saint Monica (Santa Monica), Saint Andrew (Pasadena), Sacred Heart (Oakland), Saint Francis de Sales (Oakland), Saint Mary (Los Gatos), Saint Anselm (San Anselmo), Marylrose (Oakland), All Souls (Alhambra), Saint Bede (Hayward) and Saint Elizabeth (Altadena). She was founding principal of Saint Mary, Los Gatos. She served as Director of Adult Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 16 years. In this role she often gave classes and retreats, especially on prayer. Following her work in the Archdiocese Sister Gemma was in parish ministry at Saint Andrew for 6 years. After her ministry at Saint Andrew she was the SNJM Director of Associates for 12 years in Southern California and then for the California Province.

She is remembered for her deep faith, spirituality and prayerfulness. With gentleness and graciousness Sister Gemma was present to each person she encountered. Her fidelity to friends, her tireless commitment to the development of lay leadership, and devotedness to her beloved associates were especially important to her.

She is survived by cousins John Babbitt, Diane Flournoy and Ida Ludwig. She will be remembered fondly by the Sisters of the Holy Names and SNJM Associates.

Gifts in her memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or online.



Sister Shirley Sexton (Sister Maureen Theresa)

February 21, 1931 - May 16, 2015

"I have competed well: I have finished the race: I have kept the faith." ~2 Timothy 4:7

It is fitting that on May 16th, the day before the Bay to Breakers, Sister Shirley finished her earthly race and was welcomed joyously by our God to the finish line. Sister Shirley was 84 years old and was celebrating her 60th year of profession as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Sister Shirley was an elementary school educator at Saint Cecilia (San Francisco), Saint Monica (Santa Monica), Saint Mark (Venice), Saint Stephen (Monterey Park), Saint Elizabeth (Altadena) and All Souls (Alhambra). She also served as principal at Saint Augustine (Oakland) for one year and Saint Mary (Los Gatos) for 7 years. Sister Shirley was a beloved Director of Residents at Holy Names University for 4 years.

In 1982–1983 she attended the "Religious Leaders Program at Notre Dame to prepare her to become SNJM Vocation Director. A significant result of her time at Notre Dame was that she became a loyal and faithful member of the "Fighting Irish".

While Sister Shirley's vibrancy and kindness drew others to her – from elementary school students, to residents at HNU, these gifts of hers were a perfect fit for ministry with the elderly for over 20 years. She loved working with seniors and she did so at Sacred Heart Parish, Saint Mary Center, Strawberry Creek Lodge, North Oakland Senior Center and Oakland Adult School. Her ministry to seniors always included the annual retreat at either Villa Maria Del Mar (Santa Cruz) or Villa Los Gatos. In all her ministries In all her ministries Sister Shirley created in her heart a place of welcome and hospitality for whomever she met.

She is survived by her sister, Mary Hutton, nieces, nephews and their children.

Gifts in her memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or online.


Sister Mary Anselm Grover (Edwina Josephine Grover)

November 1, 1921 - May 15, 2015

"She wanted to live, and live fully, and to give life, she who loved life!" ~Emile Zola

Sister Mary Anselm Grover (Edwina Josephine Grover) entered into the fullness of life on May 15, 2015 at Our Lady of Fatima Villa, Saratoga. Sister Anselm was 93 years old and celebrated 71 years of her religious profession as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Her ministry as educator spanned elementary to university education. She taught at Marylrose (Oakland) and Sacred Heart (Oakland). She moved onto secondary education at Holy Names High School (Oakland), Saint Andrew (Pasadena), Marin Catholic (Kentfield), Saint Bernard (Los Angeles) and Ramona(Alhambra) where she could be found teaching-French, Spanish, Latin or History. She also served as principal at Holy Names High School and Saint Bernard's. For over 25 years she ministered at Holy Names University as faculty member, financial aid director or working in the academic dean's office. In between these ministries she taught briefly abroad in Paris and served for two years as translator for the Holy Names Sisters' General Administration in Quebec. Once "retired" from Holy Names University she ministered to the elderly and as music minister at Assumption (San Leandro), Saint Cornelius (Richmond) and Saint Rose Hospital (Hayward).

The fullness and richness of Sister Anselm's life and ministry far exceed any description. In fact she wrote, "I think I will need another life to do all the things I would like to do." Her joie de vivre was evidenced in so many ways - in her characteristic cheerfulness, her flair for the dramatic and her unqualified generosity to respond to needs within and outside the community. She was a trained and gifted musician. So talented that she could play almost any tune on the piano.

She is survived by many nieces and nephews on the East Coast.

Gifts in Sister's memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or online.


Sister Mary Mackessy (Sister Margaret Therese)

February 5, 1938 - May 4, 2015

"My mission is to share, minister to others, the fruit of my experiences and life lived with Jesus." 
~Sister Mary Mackessy 

Sister Mary Mackessy (Sister Margaret Therese) entered into the fullness of life on May 4, 2015. She had celebrated her 77th birthday in February and made her first profession 56 years ago.

From 1958 to 1979 Sister Mary was an elementary educator at Marylrose (Oakland), Holy Spirit (Fremont), Sacred Heart (Oakland), Saint Monica (San Francisco), Saint Gerard Majella (Los Angeles), Saint Mark (Venice), Saint Elizabeth (Altadena), Saint Anastasia (Los Angeles) and Saint Monica (Santa Monica). From 1979 on Sister Mary found her real passion in parish ministry either as Director of Religious Education, Director of RCIA, Adult Education Coordinator or Pastoral Associate. She served at Saint Monica (Santa Monica), Sacred Heart (Covina), Saint Paul the Apostle (Chino Hills), Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Habra) and Saints Peter and Paul (Alta Loma). She also volunteered at Saint Andrew's Elementary School with the sacramental program. In all these ministries Sister Mary brought people closer to God and, in turn, her life was made richer and fuller as she journeyed with them.

Sister Mary loved her family and was preceded in death by brothers Edward and Robert. Mary is survived by her brother Jim, many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. She had a wide network of former students, colleagues and friends.

Gifts in Sister's memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or online.


Sister Mary Elizabeth Doherty (Sister Miriam Edward)

February 24, 1922 – April 6, 2015

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people. I want to speak to their souls.”
                ~ John Coltrane

Sister Mary Elizabeth Doherty (Sister Miriam Edward) entered into the fullness of life on April 6, 2015. She had celebrated her 93rd birthday in February and made her first profession 73 years ago.

Sister Mary Elizabeth (Sister Mary Liz) started her ministry with 12 years as an elementary school music educator at St. Gregory (Los Angeles), Saint Augustine (Oakland), Academy of the Holy Names (Pomona), Saint Monica (San Francisco) and Marylrose (Oakland). For the rest of her educational ministry, she was in secondary education – 8 years at Ramona Convent Secondary School (Alhambra) and 38 years at Holy Names High School, Oakland. Her contributions to Holy Names High School were countless. She taught religion to generations of students, especially her beloved sophomores. As a music teacher, orchestra conductor and creator of the fine arts program, she brought her boundless passion and love to everything she did. 

When “retirement” from education called her name, she moved to Convent of the Holy Names, Los Gatos where she was a local leader for her sisters, hosting parties and being of service in any way she could. When she moved to Merrill Gardens in Campbell, she became the “unofficial greeter” at the front entry welcoming all. She will be remembered for her many years as sacristan at HNHS, her beautiful flower arrangements, her sense of humor and her Mary “Lizisms.”

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