A group of Holy Name Province friars and more than a dozen members of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany gathered in the chapel of St. Anthony Friary in Florida for a special Mass to pay tribute to two of the Sisters. During the March 19 Eucharistic celebration, Sr. Mary McNally, OSF, and Sr. Patricia Shirley, OSF, were awarded HNP’s Francis Medal in recognition of their compassionate care and support of the St. Petersburg friar fraternity during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Francis Medal was established by Holy Name Province in 1998 to acknowledge individuals, both lay people and religious, who advance Franciscan values and ideals, support the friars in living and proclaiming the Gospel in the example of St. Francis, and assist the friars in their ministry work.
In his homily, Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, spoke of the relationship between Holy Name Province and the Allegany Sisters that dates back to 1859. The friars established parishes along the East Coast and the Allegany Sisters taught in the parish schools, and the friars were chaplains at hospitals that the sisters founded, according to Anthony, who noted that the friars and sisters also collaborated in establishing missions in Brazil and Jamaica.
“In keeping with this long tradition of support, respect and care for each other, we award the Francis Medal to these Allegany Franciscan Sisters. In each case, these sisters, through their simple actions, showed their care for their Franciscan brothers,” said Anthony, who presented the medals to the pair.
Sr. Margaret Magee, congregational minister who was among the sisters in attendance and presented one of the scripture readings during the Mass, said, “It is quite an honor that our sisters are being recognized for their presence and ministry.”
Both medal recipients expressed joy and humility when they were presented with the award.
“The ceremony was beautiful, humbling, and warm. Our congregations have such a rich history to celebrate,” said Sr. Patricia, who joined the Allegany Franciscan Sisters at the age of 17, and served for two decades as a high school science and math teacher in Florida and Jamaica, West Indies prior to switching to the healthcare arena.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive the Francis Medal from my brother friars. They have been friends, spiritual directors, and true companions on my nearly 60-year journey as an Allegany Franciscan Sister,” added Sr. Patricia, who serves as the congregation’s health care coordinator and is a member of the boards of two Franciscan hospitals and a local health care system – including St. Anthony’s Hospital, which was founded by the Allegany Sisters and is located just blocks from the St. Anthony Friary.
Sr. Mary was “surprised, touched, and honored to receive this meaningful award” from her brother friars.
“I grew up with Holy Name friars – an uncle, Terence McNally, and a brother, Owen (Donnon) McNally. I know friars from Owen’s seminary days, and from my own formation years in Allegany, as well as from ministering with friars as part of the ‘summer crew’ at Long Beach Island (New Jersey), the Franciscan Center, and St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg,” said Sr. Mary, who serves as vice president of Mission Integration at St. Anthony’s Hospital/BayCare Health System.
“It is a privilege to serve, support, and care for my brother friars. They have spent their lives caring for others,” added Sr. Mary, who has been involved in wide-ranging ministries – including parish pastoral care, counseling, spiritual direction, healthcare, and congregational leadership. She has also served as a vocation director and as director of the Franciscan Center.
Friars who live at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg read citations when they presented the recipients with the Francis Medal. Jerome Massimino, OFM, read the citation to Sr. Mary, and John Marino, OFM, read the citation for Sr. Patricia.
The Eucharistic liturgy was celebrated by Vincent Laviano, OFM, guardian of the St. Anthony Friary. Sr. Kathleen Stagnaro, and Sr. Joan Carberry presented scripture readings at the Mass, and Sr. Joan was recognized for her 65-year anniversary as an Allegany Sister.