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Sister Agnes Cunningham

Sr. Agnes CunninghamBorn in Brooklyn, NY  Sr. Agnes Cunningham, OP has been a Dominican Sister of Sparkill, New York since 1946. While she was still a toddler, the Cunningham family moved to Laurelton, New York. Agnes later joined her other siblings at St. Mary Magdalen Grade School in the neighboring town of Springfield Gardens. Here she met the Dominican Sisters and thus began the “planting of the vocation seed” which was nurtured until her entrance into the novitiate 69 years ago. There, she became known as Sr. James Edith.

Sr. Agnes graduated from Bishop McDonald High School in Brooklyn and then worked for the New York Telephone Company for two years.  After much prayer and reflection she visited with Sr. Macrina, who had been her 8th grade teacher, and whose guidance led her to say “Yes” to our God.  When Agnes told her family one of her uncles said,  “I knew you would someday become a Sister!’

Agnes CunninghamWhat attracted her to Sparkill?   The Sisters’ spirit, white habit they wore and their devotion to Our Lady and the Rosary. Daily 15 decades were prayed.   (Today there are 20!)

Sr. Agnes received her Bachelor in Science degree from Manhattan College, went on to study for her Master’s degree at Catholic University and spent all of her active ministry days teaching science – first at St. Theresa Grade School in Woodside, NY  then on to Cathedral HS, NYC, Holy Trinity HS, Amityville, and finally to Albertus Magnus HS in Bardonia.

Sr. Agnes Cunningham (2)If you speak to any of her students, they would be in agreement that she was a wonderful, patient teacher of biology.  Her retirement from full time teaching was a sad day for the students and faculty who dearly loved her. However, leaving the classroom did not stop Sr. Agnes – as she continued working at Albertus as the Development Director. And for thirteen summers she was the administrator at St. Joseph Villa, Saugerties, NY where she welcomed our Sisters and Sisters from many congregations for their summer vacation. Laughter, good meals, and a restful time were offered and appreciated by all who called ‘Saugs’ their summer “go-to” place.   Sr. Agnes truly lives the closing words of our mission statement as together …”we reverence all creation”.

Sr. Agnes now lives in Siena Hall, our 24/7 holistic health care facility here at our Motherhouse, Dominican Convent.  Daily she prays the Dominican Office and Rosary, remembering family, friends, Sisters, and the intentions of donors.   She says, “I will be forever grateful for the 69 years that I have been a Dominican Sister of Sparkill.”  In our words Sr. Agnes Cunningham, OP is definitely a “woman making a difference.”

In the name of all of the Dominican Sister of Sparkill, Thank You to you, the donors to SOAR! who have assisted us with grants that have added to the quality of life of our retired/infirm members.  For you and your generosity to women religious we are thankful! 

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