Ruth Mary Hennessey
SISTER RUTH HENNESSEY, (SISTER MARY JAMES) CSJ
The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada announces the death of our dear Sister Ruth Hennessey at Peterborough Regional General Hospital, Peterborough, May 14, 2020.
Sr. Ruth is predeceased by her parents, James, and Evelyn (Simons) and by her brother Earl and sisters Helen (Baker), Florence and Evelyn (Tait).
She is lovingly remembered by the members of her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph, her niece Ruth Tait (Dale), and her Baker family nephews, niece, and their families and the many friends she made during her years of service to others.
Sister Ruth entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough in September 1956, coming from her hometown of Lindsay. Her mission experiences were in the field of education as a teacher in Peterborough, Kirkfield, and Cobourg. While teaching she further served the Congregation in the role of Vocation Director. She was a beloved primary teacher and special education teacher.
Following her retirement from teaching Sr. Ruth became involved in refugee ministry. Under her direction the congregation operated three refugee houses, Casa Maria Homes, which served as welcoming homes for many men, women, and children from all over the world. Sr. Ruth Hennessey was the inspiring energy and dedicated force behind the ministry there along with a cohort of volunteers and community support.
In October 2018, the Peterborough Women’s Leadership Awards to celebrate women who serve as leaders in the community were initiated. Sr. Ruth was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with refugees and immigrants.
Ruth, in collaboration with her co-workers and many volunteers was the lead consultant for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peterborough in the role of the umbrella organization for sponsorship of refugees. She assisted parishes and groups as they established welcoming committees for refugees.
As a primary school teacher, she reached out to students with special needs. She is fondly remembered for her gift of hospitality and the ability to make anyone and everyone feel welcome and special.
Cremation has taken place and there will be a private interment at Highland Park Cemetery. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated later. Condolences can be sent to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 1555 Monaghan Rd.