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Sixtieth Anniversary of Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, OSBM, Celebrated on June 30, 2012

Born in April 1935 and baptized Virginia, Sister Miriam Claire is the daughter of Michael and Justine Kowal. The family attended SS Peter and Paul Church in Auburn, New York, where young Virginia completed her early education before entering religious life at the age of 17. Completing her novitiate in 1953, she made her simple profession in August 1955, taking her final vows as a Sister of St. Basil the Great on August 28, 1958.

Following a centuries' old tradition of Basilian nuns, Sister Miriam Claire accepted a teaching assignment within the far-flung Ukrainian Catholic school system built by her predecessors. Her educational ministry began at St. George School in New York City in 1955, where she began to hone her skills as a teacher while helping her young pupils learn to read, write, and understand the presence of God in their lives.

While teaching at St. John's Ukrainian Catholic School in Pittsburgh, she enrolled as a student at Duquesne University, earning a degree in Business Administration. After several years serving her community in the Motherhouse at Fox Chase, Sister Miriam Claire resumed her work in the field of education, first serving as Registrar, then as Dean of Admissions and Academic Dean at Manor Junior College. Having served as Manor's Dean for several years, she was appointed College President in 1976, holding this post until 1985 when she assumed the duties of Provincial Superior at the Motherhouse. Taking a well-earned sabbatical year (1995–1996) in Canada, Sr. Miriam Claire studied Eastern Spirituality at St. Paul University in Ottawa. Upon her return to Fox Chase, she was assigned to serve as Principal at St. Josaphat School in Parma, Ohio. In 1997, she was called to serve as General Superior of the Order in Rome, a position she currently holds.

Sister Miriam Claire's 60th anniversary in the religious life was celebrated on June 30, 2012. Most Reverend Metropolitan Stefan Soroka presided at the Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving. Con-celebrating was Very Reverend Archpriest Daniel Troyan. Archbishop Stefan spoke highly of Sister Miriam Claire's attributes. Praising her for her kind and gentle ways, His Grace commented: “I have especially admired your strong sense of removal from the earthly pace of life. One admires your sense of peaceful coasting or hovering as you walk, as you listen, as you pray, as you show care and concern for others. This surely comes from the inner peace which comes from a life of faithful prayer. You are a woman of prayer. You are a woman offering hope and optimism in life because of your close union with Jesus Christ in prayer. My sense is that you walk hand in hand with our Blessed Mother as she intercedes for your intentions and for the success of the ministry you fulfill in Jesus' Name.

Welcoming the guest of honor at the Motherhouse in Fox Chase, Provincial Superior spoke about her achievements and accomplishments during her six decades as a Basilian nun, underscoring her colleague's deep spirituality and calm demeanor even under the most stressful circumstances. She thanked the General Superior for her unflagging supportive of her home province and for her presence at the province's centennial celebration, noting, "Your way of being present, of seeing, of relating and of working reflects a loving kindness. . . Through you, others are made to feel lovable, important, capable, and valuable, this enables them to transfer those attributes to new others . . . . you are a reminder of God’s presence among us. You have left a legacy on your Province, on the Order."

Speaking on behalf of the community, Sister Dorothy Ann expressed best wishes for the honoree's good health and continued success. "We wish you well, we wish you good health, we wish you joy and blessings, and we wish you many happy years. Mnohaya, blahaya lita!"

Sister Maria Rozmarynowych, OSBM; Very Reverend Archpriest Daniel Troyan; Sister Joann Sosler, OSBM; Jubilarian, Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, OSBM, General Superior; Most Reverend Archbishop Metropolitan Stefan Soroka; Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM, Provincial; Sister Ann Laszok OSBM; Sister Lydia Anna Sawka, OSBM

Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, OSBM

(l-r) Sisters Joann Sosler,OSBM: Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM; Rita Stremba, OSBM; Miriam Claire Kowal, OSBM

Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, OSBM

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