we remember . . . Rose Anne Fedorko, SSJ

Sister Rose Anne Fedorko, Ph.D., SSJ, formerly Sr. Helen Therese, age 91, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on August 8, 2020. She was in the 73rd year of her religious life. Sister Rose Anne was born in Johnsonburg, PA, on July 10, 1929, the daughter of the late Stefan and Anna (Paralic) Fedorko. She graduated from Johnsonburg High School in Johnsonburg, PA, and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on August 31, 1947. She professed her final vows on August 15, 1953, and celebrated 70 years of religious life in 2017. 

Sister Rose Anne continued her education at Villa Maria College in Erie and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She furthered her studies in Early Childhood Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, during the summers of 1966 and 1967. She later earned a Master’s degree in Education in 1968 from the University of Illinois, Champagne, IL, and attended Oxford University in St. Ann’s, England, where she studied British Education.  In 1978, she received a Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, School of Education, in Washington, D.C.

Sister Rose Anne taught at St. Patrick, Sacred Heart, St. John, and St. Peter Cathedral schools in Erie and served as an administrator at Maryvale Preschool in Erie.  Many people in Erie knew of Sr. Helen Therese because she either taught them or their children during her many years at Maryvale. She was known for her ability to encourage and draw out a child’s unique talents. This was evident in the legendary annual student theater productions. Her storytelling was one-of-a-kind and often hilarious as she always saw the humor in the children’s daily antics. Her genuine love of children was obvious.

Sister Rose Anne also taught at Villa Maria College, served as a campus minister at Edinboro University, Newman Center, and as Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Edinboro, PA.  Other education ministries included the Holy Childhood Association, Washington, DC; Marymount University and George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia; and the East Coast Migrant Headstart Program in Orlando, FL. 

Sister Rose Anne served as a Human Resources Specialist for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, during which time she also served as Military Chaplain Assistant for the Navy, Fort Bellevue. She was a lector and eucharistic minister at St. Patrick’s Church, Washington, DC, and a part-time choir member and choir chaplain at Fort Myer in Arlington, VA.  

Upon returning to Erie, Sister Rose Anne served as Life Coach of the Koch Health and Wellness Center at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center. In her retirement, she participated in many activities including art lessons.  

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Andrew, Stephen, Michael, and Joseph; and sisters, Helen Herzing, Mary Fedorko, and Theresa Fedorko. She is survived by two brothers, John of Kersey/St. Marys, PA; and Francis“Fritz” of Montoursville, PA; and one sister, Agnes Waskiewicz of Bradford/Mars, PA. Additionally, she is survived by 27 nieces and nephews who love her dearly, and by her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, of which her niece, Sister Susan Herzing, SSJ is a member.