Sister Mary Joan

Sister  Mary Joan             ND 4586               PDF Download

Eleanor Frances FURLONG

Mary Immaculate Province, Toledo, Ohio, USA

Date and Place of Birth:            May 25, 1934       Bellevue, Ohio
Date and Place of Profession:   August 17, 1954   Toledo, Ohio
Date and Place of Death:          July 22, 2018        Toledo, Ohio
Date and Place of Funeral:        July 25, 2018       Whitehouse, Ohio
Date and Place of Burial:           July 26, 2018       Resurrection Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

Show us how to transform the stumbling blocks in our lives to ladders of grace for ourselves and for others.

Eleanor Frances was the fifth child of the six children of Leo Patrick and Catherine Beatrice (O’Donnell) Furlong living in Bellevue, Ohio. During her high school years at Notre Dame Academy she became an Aspirant with the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo. Eleanor entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in August, 1952, following her older sisters Sister Mary Leo (deceased in 2017) and Sister Mary Beatrice Ann, who entered the Notre Dame community earlier.

In 1955 Sister began her effective teaching career as a first-grade teacher in diocesan elementary schools before becoming a highly regarded principal for 33 years at numerous schools in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan from 1969-2003. Retiring from education in 2003, Sister used her gift of accuracy as finance assistant for the Sisters of Notre Dame and other community services before becoming a resident of the Ursuline Center in September 2016.

As a principal Sister Mary Joan was exacting, patient, and understanding and gave careful and loving attention to beginning teachers. One teacher remarked: “To be trained by Sister Mary Joan was a gift.” As a superb administrator of Catholic elementary schools she managed with practicality in taking risks and with courage in facing challenging situations.

In her ministry and especially in community Sister is remembered for her quick wit and memorable quotes, for example: “Too often we do the urgent, rather than the important.”

Sister Mary Joan’s quiet presence and gentle voice welcomed everyone. When asked “what was the secret of her delicious chocolate candy,” she would reply with her head slightly tilted and her contagious smile: “You have to bring it to a slow boil, stirring constantly.” That same slow, caring attentiveness marked everything Sister did in the various activities of her life whether playing piano, cooking, baking, or gift wrapping. Sister was a “home maker” not only by what she did but by how she did it. She lived simply outwardly and inwardly handling each person and all of life as she did her candy making; stirring slowly bringing all to life.

In her 64th year of profession, Sister Mary Joan quietly entered into her eternal peace on Sunday morning while a resident at the Ursuline Center. May she enjoy the comforting embrace of her Beloved.