Sister Mary Angeline Mastro, an Oneonta native who answered God's calling, was remembered Monday as a woman who prayed on behalf of others and garnered respect from children and adults.
Mastro died Saturday at age 89, her niece, Roseanne* Miller of Oneonta said Monday.
"We've lost a light here in this world," said Beth Sienkiewicz, a member of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and a longtime friend of the late nun. Mastro was a brilliant woman who was never too busy to stop and listen and help someone, Sienkiewicz said.
Mastro entered the sisters of Mercy Order in Albany at 17 after graduating from Oneonta High School, according to her autobiographical statement. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the College of St. Rose in Albany, an obituary said, and went on to teach elementary school classes, lead religious instruction and take on principalships at Catholic schools.
In 1987, she was stricken with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, and she left her principalship in Albany and returned to Oneonta. Later, she took on roles at St. Mary's School locally, including teacher, librarian, cook and director of an after-school program. She organized an Italian festival to raise money for the church and school.
Associates Monday remembered her ability to take on projects and her willingness to help people into her senior years.
"I found Sister Angeline to be a very holy woman," said the Rev. Joseph Benintende, pastor emeritus of St. Mary's Church in Oneonta. "She lived a good life. ... She went out of her way to do things for people."
"She was a dynamo," said Seinkiewicz, who maintained a friendship with Mastro for more than 25 years.
Church member Mary Ann Hartmann said she also considered Mastro "a dear, dear friend." Adults in her classes speak lovingly of her, Hartmann said, and her religious devotion was "incredibly inspirational" yet a faith that she was able to share.
"I could go on and on," said Hartmann of West Oneonta.
"She'll be sorely missed."
Mastro applied her multiple talents and skills to teaching, cooking and organizing events, yet she took time to meditate and pray, Hartmann said, and her letters to friends reflected thoughtfulness.
Hartmann, who helped the nun moved back to the Motherhouse in Albany, shared Mastro's comment from a recent correspondence:
"A God-given pleasure for me, during these past six years, is that seven of my first graders from my past have come to see me."
Mastro said she found joy in being part of the lives of others, according to the letter.
Miller said a memorial service is planned for Mastro at St. Mary's church in Oneonta at 11 a.m. Sept. 8.
*Editor's note: This story was changed at 10:45 a.m. July 24 to correct Roseanne Miller's first name.