October 10, 2017 was a sad day at St. Joseph Hill Convent. Sr. Rita Leite said her final goodbyes to the Sisters and staff to return home to Brazil.
Sr. Rita will be visiting her family for several weeks before heading to her new assignment where she will join the teaching staff in a K to 12 school of approximately 2,000 students. There she will likely return to teaching math and religion.
In her parting words, Sr. Rita thanked the Sisters for making her feel so welcome that she felt at home despite overcoming the differences between cultures and climate while learning a new language. “I always felt that we were truly Sisters, the same Daughters of Divine Charity.”
Sr. William thanked Sr. Rita for all that she sacrificed while living in the U.S. With tears in her eyes, she embraced her in a tight hug saying, “We will always consider you a real Sister. We will miss you terribly for so much but mostly for your beautiful smile.”
Sr. Rita made a tremendous impact in the convent, assisting the infirm sisters, making sure they always knew they were in the company of a loving sister. At meals she would engage them in conversation and join them for their daily private prayers. Many evenings, she joined the lively recreational activities or partnered with the active sisters to stroll the boardwalk to enjoy the sunsets.
Through her role at the high school, Sr. Rita made a lasting impression on students and faculty. Her daily presence was a reminder of God’s love and her youthful enthusiasm had students gravitating towards her. As part of the Kairos retreat program, she encouraged many students to strengthen their personal relationship with God and their faith and made the young women feel that they had a new friend with whom to share this love of God.