Sr. Mary Alphonse Hamel, 86, a Sister of the Redeemer for 63 years, died September 8, 2020. Sister was born Lorraine Therese Hamel in Laconia, N.H., and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., by her parents, the late Doris and Lorenzo Alphonse Hamel. She is survived by her beloved brother Frank; nieces Margaret Hamel-Daymon (James) and Theresa Hillerby (Dana); nephew Michael Hamel (Maureen); great-nieces Leyna and Gabriella; and great-nephews Adam, Nicholas, and Alexander
Sr. Mary Alphonse first met the Sisters of the Redeemer in 1954, when her brother Frank drove 11 hours from their hometown to Meadowbrook, Pa. “Our visit was a delightful hour and a half, and I felt I had found a place where I could fit in,” she said.
She professed her first vows with the Sisters of the Redeemer in May 1959, the same year the Sisters opened Holy Redeemer Hospital. She celebrated 60 years of religious profession at her Diamond Jubilee with her Religious Sisters, family, and friends in November 2019.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s University, Sr. Mary Alphonse served many roles in loving service to poor, sick, and vulnerable persons, inspired by the Charism of Blessed Alphonse Maria Eppinger, Founder of the Sisters of the Redeemer. Though she requested the religious name “Alphonse” in honor of her father, she was also grateful to bear the name of the Founder.
From 1959-71, she served as Acting Administrator at St. Joseph Manor. She was instrumental in the development of the Conference of Archdiocesan Services for the Aging, serving as its President from 1970-72. Sr. Mary Alphonse served as President of the Holy Redeemer Hospital Board of Directors for five years.
Dedicated to helping seniors find dignity, residential security and community, Sr. Mary Alphonse was a driving force in the planning and development of Redeemer Village, an independent residential complex for senior citizens. To help ensure its residents’ nutritional needs were met, she also worked to establish a food service program.
In addition to many leadership positions within the Sisters’ ministries, many now part of Holy Redeemer Health System, she also held several roles within the Sisters’ Province leadership, including Vicar and Provincial Superior for the Province and Superior of St. Joseph Manor Convent. Sr. Mary Alphonse resided for four years in Germany, one of the Sisters of the Redeemer international Congregation’s three locations. There she enjoyed sharing in the language, tradition, and beauty of Germany. Her descriptive and beautiful letters back to the United States kept all apprised of her special experience abroad.
In more recent years, Sr. Mary Alphonse enjoyed her ministry in Food and Nutrition at Holy Redeemer Hospital including delivering patient trays. Her last ministry at the Hospital was that of greeting visitors at the front desk and extending Redeemer hospitality and a warm smile to doctors, staff, volunteers, and many who entered each day.
She spent her final years residing in the Sisters’ Magnificat Center, where her quiet, prayerful, and humble presence was appreciated by so many.
Sr. Mary Alphonse’s life will be celebrated during a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, September 12, at 10 a.m. in the Redeemer Sisters’ Chapel. Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions necessitate that the funeral Mass is private. The Mass will be livestreamed on the Sisters of the Redeemer Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sistersoftheredeemer. Burial will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date for family and friends to share in Sr. Mary Alphonse’s life.
Those wishing to contribute to the Sisters’ ministries in memory of Sr. Mary Alphonse, can do so online (select Sisters of the Redeemer in the dropdown menu) or by mail (Sisters of the Redeemer, 1600 Huntingdon Pike, Meadowbrook, Pa. 19046).