Sister Mary William passed away peacefully surrounded by her Sisters at St. Joseph Hill convent on Holy Thursday April 6, 2023.
She was born Mary Margaret McGovern in then- Richmond Memorial Hospital on April 16, 1937. She lived in Great Kills and attended St. Clare School for elementary grades and graduated from St. Joseph Hill Academy High School.
Sister entered the novitiate of the Daughters of Divine Charity on August 15, 1955, taking the name Sister Mary William. She graduated from Fordham University with both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English.
Her first teaching assignment in 1958 was in St. Joseph Hill Academy High School. Over the years, she taught French, British Literature, and Advanced Placement English, served as faculty advisor of the school newspaper, the yearbook and Student Council. In 1966, she was asked to establish a Guidance Department at the Academy and served as its first director.
In 1971 she became the Provincial Secretary of St. Joseph Province, a post she held for six years. Following that she retuned to St. Joseph Hill Academy where she continued teaching English as well as instituting a course in journalism.
She served on the Provincial Council of the Congregation for eight years, then served as the Provincial. Over the years she was chosen six times to represent the Sisters at their international General Chapter, held every six years at the Congregation’s Generalate, first in Vienna and then in Rome.
In 1996 after completing her first term as Provincial, she became the co-director of Development for the Province, with the responsibility of raising funds to support the elderly and infirm Sisters. During this time, she moderated the Daughters of Divine Charity Associate Program in the United States, taking it from a membership of one to being a wide-ranging group in all areas of the country where the Sisters served. In 2008, she was again named Provincial of St. Joseph Province. In 2012, when St. Joseph Province, based at St. Joseph Hill on Staten Island, joined with two other Provinces of the Congregation – one based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and one in Akron, Ohio-she was chosen to be the first Provincial Superior of the newly formed Holy Family Province, based at St. Joseph Hill convent.
After overseeing the construction of a new convent for the Sisters at St. Joseph Hill, who had been living in a retrofitted school building, she was faced with the challenge of rebuilding the original convent building, which the Sisters had acquired in 1919 and which had been heavily damaged by an arson fire in 2013. During the course of the renovations, she oversaw the opening of St. Joseph Retreat Center. When her term as Provincial expired, she became President of St. Joseph Hill Academy. She served on the board of St. Joseph Hill Academy and continued working in the Development Office of the Daughters of Divine Charity.
She was predeceased by her father, William A. McGovern, her mother, Marie McGovern her brother William A. McGovern, M.D. and her nephew William McGovern. She is survived by her niece, Laura McGovern Olszewski, her grandniece, Sarah and her grandnephew, Christian, as well as her all her Sisters in Holy Family Province.
Schedule of Services:
Wednesday, April 12th 2 pm – 8 pm
Visitation, St. Joseph Hill Convent
Thursday, April 13th 10 am
Mass of Christian Burial, St. Joseph Hill Convent
Interment, Resurrection Cemetery, Staten Island, NY
Repast, St. Joseph Hill Convent