Siena Friary Employee Recognized with Francis Medal

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

Kevin Mullen, Mark Reamer and Michael Harlan present the Francis Medal to Sue Mullahey.

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Nearly four decades of work and friendships can make a retirement more than festive.

On her last day of work last month at St. Bernadine of Siena Friary, Sue Mallahey was feted with a party, entertained with songs and stories, and recognized with Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal. The friars celebrated with Mullahey and her family, her retirement after 37 years of service.

“They’re so special,” said Mullahey of the friars with whom she’s worked and developed friendships since 1980. She began working at the friary as a bookkeeper and retired last month as treasurer. Initially hired by Kevin Mackin, OFM, she went on to work with 10 guardians

She was given the Francis Medal by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, who recognized the longtime employee for her commitment to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi.

A tribute to Sue began with Mark Reamer, OFM, guardian, welcoming attendees. Ignatius Smith, OFM, offered a toast, and Michael Harlan, OFM, gave the invocation. Mark presented a gift to Mullahey on behalf of the friars of St. Bernardine Friary.

“Sue will be greatly missed for the many ways she cared for the friars as if they were her brothers,” said Mark, who recommended to the Provincial Minister that Mullahey be honored.

“She has been a unique blend of competence and kindness, and has been like a sister to us,” said Daniel Dwyer, OFM. “Sue has been a part of our friary family since I came to Siena. Her dedication and sense of humor have helped us through crises large and small. When I was guardian, she was my essential ‘go-to’ person and she will be sorely missed around the friary.”

Dennis Tamburello, OFM, kicked off the entertainment portion of the evening with a rendition of the 1961 hit song “Runaround Sue” with lyrics tailored to the occasion.

It was a wonderful event, said Mullahey. “The party was amazing. It meant so much to me to be honored with the Francis Medal. I was very surprised.”

“I’m very blessed to have so many friars as good friends,” she said. “I’m thankful for all they’ve done for me. I not only worked for them, but they helped me, too. The friars are such compassionate people.”

She acknowledged that the evening was “bittersweet.”

“I’m sorry to have this end, but I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life – a new adventure,” said the honoree.

Joining Mullahey, a resident of Troy, at the festivities were her husband, her son and her three grandchildren, along with an uncle and other relatives and friends.

In addition to her family and friends, many friars from the Province also joined in the festivities. Nearly 10 friars came from out of town to participate in the celebration. They included Richard Mucowski, OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., who spoke words of praise for Sue, and John Frambes, OFM, of Long Beach Island, N.J., who described Sue’s patience as a great gift she brought to the friars, according to Mark. Former guardians Dan Dwyer, Brian Belanger, OFM, and Kevin Mullen spoke in glowing terms about the many gifts that Sue shared with the friars. Kevin Mackin, who lives in Florida, sent a letter that was read on his behalf.

With the help of Octavio Duran, OFM, Brian created a “guardians calendar to help Sue remember the friars with whom she worked,” said Mark. The month of November was dedicated to the friars who lived at Siena and have gone home to God, with December featuring Sue’s all-time favorite friar, Romuald Chinetsky, OFM.

The HNP Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. In recent months, friars in Silver Spring, Md., and Wilmington, Del. and Buffalo, N.Y. have presented the medal to partners-in-ministry in their communities.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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