Rose Ann Fedorko, SSJ

Growing up during World War II, I saw my four brothers go off to war and saw the sacrifices, prayers and tears—as well as the joys—of returning heroes. I was deeply impressed with their faith and dependence on God through it all. I wanted to give my life to serving this wonderful generation
of faith-filled people of God.

Generations of people in Erie knew Sister Helen Therese as an administrator at Maryvale Pre-School. She coaxed from each child his or her own special gifts, especially during the school’s annual theater productions. Known today as Sister Rose Anne Fedorko, SSJ, she went on to serve in a variety of capacities in schools, parishes and even the federal government. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from Holy Rosary Parish in Johnsonburg, in 1947. A graduate of Johnsonburg High School, she continued her education at Erie’s Villa Maria College, from which she graduated in 1967 with a degree in elementary education. She furthered her studies in early childhood education at Temple University in Philadelphia, and ultimately earned a master’s in education in 1968 from the University of Illinois in Champagne, Ill. She attended Oxford University in England, studying British education. In 1978, Sister Rose Anne received a doctorate from the School of Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Besides serving as administrator at Maryvale, she taught at St. Patrick, Sacred Heart, St. John and St. Peter Cathedral schools in Erie. She ministered at Villa Maria College, Catholic University of America, East Coast Migrant Headstart, the Holy Childhood Association, Marymount University and George Mason University. She served as campus minister at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Newman Center, and was director of religious education at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Edinboro. For 20 years, she was a human resource specialist with the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington. During that time, she also ministered at parishes in the surrounding area. “One very fine layman whose faith deeply touched me stands out in my working years,” she says. “Louis Freeh, while director of the FBI, frequently walked up the street, without security guards, to participate in the early Mass at St. Patrick’s. He is a man of honesty, fairness, justice and integrity. I was humbled by his deep respect for me and I regarded him as a true man of faith.” Upon returning to Erie, she served as a life coach at the health and wellness center at the SSJ’s Community Living Center. Today, she participates in congregational activities; a few years ago, she began taking art lessons.