Sister Constance Murphy dies; service planned for cathedral

Posted on August 6, 2013

Sister Constance Murphy

Sister Constance Murphy, SSJD, died on Aug. 2 at the age of 109. She died peacefully at the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine’s convent infirmary in Toronto, according to the SSJD’s website. A requiem eucharist for her will take place at St. James Cathedral, 65 Church Street, Toronto, on Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Born in Baltimore in 1904 into a middle-class family in the newspaper publishing industry, Sister Constance Murphy elected not to stay in the family business. After graduating from high school, she moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with a degree in education in 1928. She would later return to school at the University of Michigan to earn a master’s degree at the age of 73.

She felt her religious calling most strongly after attending a passion play in Oberammagau, Germany, in 1930. Returning to Baltimore, she attended a presentation by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, an Anglican order of nuns based in Canada, in 1932. Four years later, she traveled north to Toronto to join the order. In 1938, she was sent to teach at the Qu’Appelle Diocesan School in Regina, Sask. While there, she rose to the position of headmistress and returned to the Toronto convent in 1955. She was named administrator of the Church Home for the Aged in Toronto in 1958, a position she held until 1972.

At the age of 94, she published a book of her memoirs, Other Little Ships, and a year later visited the Holy Land for the first time. She also co-authored several books of prayer and hymns. She had been honoured for her work on many occasions.

 With information from The History Makers.