Sister Frances Patricia Degnan, CSJ
Sister Frances Patricia Degnan, CSJ
Sister Frances Patricia Degnan, CSJ, died on Oct. 31. She was 103 and a Sister of Saint Joseph for 84 years and would have celebrated her 85th Jubilee in March. 

Sister Frances (christened Edna May Degnan) was born in Troy on March 31, 1918, the daughter of John and Irma Degnan. She was the oldest of six children and upon the death of her mother when Sister Frances was 13, she assumed the role of a surrogate parent. After graduating from her beloved Catholic Central High School in Troy, Sister Frances attended The College of Saint Rose for two years before entering the Sisters of Saint Joseph on Sept. 8, 1936. She pronounced her first vows on March 19, 1939, and her final vows on Aug. 15, 1942. 

Sister Frances earned a bachelor’s degree in French from The College of Saint Rose and a master’s degree from the University of Montreal. In 1959, Sister Frances was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and spent a summer studying French at the Sorbonne in Paris. 

While receiving accolades from Senator Jacob Javits, Bishop Walter Foery of Syracuse and many others, Sister Frances remained her humble and unassuming self. She remarked that her award meant more to others than it did to her and that the highlight of the summer, for her, was her time spent in Rome. Sister Frances was a dedicated teacher in the Albany and Syracuse Dioceses who treated her students with unceasing kindness and care. 
In addition to her teaching ministry, Sister Frances also served in her later years as attendance officer, secretary and librarian at Catholic Central High School as well as proofreader and secretary for both her community and the Diocesan Office. In all of these ministries, Sister Frances brought her meticulous care and unwavering devotion to her apostolate. 

In addition to her parents, Sister Frances was predeceased by her sister, Rosemary Fandl; and her four brothers, Francis, Richard, John and Robert. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Shirley; and 15 nieces and nephews and their children with special mention of Agnes Bohl, who served as liaison for Sister Francis and the family in her declining years. 

Due to the continued health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public visitation or funeral services for Sister Frances. Contributions in Sister Frances’ memory may be made to: The Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y., 12110.