Sister Mary Frances Beck, SNJM.
Sister Mary Frances Beck, SNJM.

Sister Mary Frances Beck, SNJM, is closing a chapter in her life that began four decades ago.

After 40 years, Sister Mary Fran retired on Oct. 31 as administrative director at the Consultation Center of the Diocese of Albany.

The diminutive Sister Mary Fran, who could be seen just about every day walking from her office across North Main to the Pastoral Center in Albany, was candid over the reasons why she retired.

“For one thing, I’m 85, and it’s time,” she said. “(And) I had a little health problem in the summer and the question was what is the center going to do if all of a sudden this happens again. It was a combination of the two things.”

The Consultation Center was created in 1969 as a Church-based office where priests and women religious could receive mental health treatment. And Sister Mary Fran has been there nearly every step of the way. 

“Mary Fran has been the behind-the-scene person at the Center for 40 years,” said Father Thomas Konopka, director and therapist at the Consultation Center. “She has worked with four directors, many therapists and spiritual directors, managed countless number of workshops, made sure the bills were paid and so much more.  In her quiet and unassuming way, she has kept the Center together, running, and able to serve the number of people we have served. There are not enough ways to say thanks.”

Sister Mary Fran said she will miss the people the most, “the counselors, the staff, the clients.”

Even though she is retiring, Sister Mary Fran will stay busy.

“(I’m) waiting to see what develops,” she said. “There are possibilities in the community for volunteering.”