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Sister Gemma Liberati, OSB
August 1, 1940 – June 16, 2017

Sister Gemma (Gloria) Liberati received her first gift of life from parents Ernest and Helen Wojtyna Liberati, August 1, 1940 in Pittsburgh, PA. She was the 3rd of 4 children growing up supported by the members of St. Athanasius Parish, and was taught by the Benedictine Sisters there. She claims she didn’t have a vocation then, but speaking of attending Saint Benedict Academy she said in her own inimitable way “I don’t know what happened but a light went on!  Sparks went flying!  I fell head over heels in love with the sisters.”   As a result, Gloria joined the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh, July 31, 1960, made her first vows on July 4, 1962 and final vows July 11, 1965.

Her ministries included being Director of Food Service for the Benedictine Sisters, and ministries at Sacred Heart, Jeannette; Immaculate Conception, Connellsville; and St. Athanasius, West View. She also ministered as Director of Benedictine Center, as house coordinator for the monastery and as volunteer at the Lighthouse Food Ministry. Wherever she ministered she served with graciousness of heart and sincere care for those she was serving.  No request was ever too big for her to readily act on without fuss. She got to the heart of things.  Down-to-earth, simple, big-hearted and generous, she was a people person, friend to all, and everyone felt welcomed by her easy-going, unassuming, congenial spirit. She was a good person to have around.  She made us laugh. Just by being in her warm-hearted presence we had to smile.

In early July 2015, Sister Gemma’s heart completely stopped beating, and for all intents and purposes, she was dead on the floor of the gathering space in our Bakerstown home. Paramedics brought her back twice that day, and hospital personnel worked their magic through weeks of care to give her a second gift of life and give friends, family and community the gift of more time with her for almost two years … but through those years her heart was weakening and she was experiencing more and more shortness of breath.

June 15, 2017, she was peaceful going into open-heart surgery to repair a leaky valve.  She never regained consciousness and late Friday evening, June 16, she peacefully breathed her last breath.  

Sister Gemma lived her Benedictine life with integrity each day, a gift to all who knew her and an example of faithful service without counting the cost.  She used the gift of life she was given by God to serve freely with generous love; she gave her all, and in the end, she was ready to freely give herself back as gift to God.

Sister Gemma is survived by her brothers, Ernest and Bill, her sister Dolly, beloved cousins, including Sister Donna Wojtyna, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, numerous friends and her Benedictine family.

Viewing will be at Saint Benedict Monastery, 3526 Bakerstown Rd, Bakerstown, PA, 15007 on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. with Prayer of Remembrance at 7:00 p.m.  Viewing will continue on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, from 2:00- 4:30 p.m.  Mass of Resurrection will be at 5:00 p.m.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kasper/Hahn Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.


Community Meeting

At our Community meeting we held an "Offering of Letters" in conjunction with Bread for the World. We are asking that Congress increase funding for maternal and child nutritions programs.


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