Sister Elaine Cullen

Sister Elaine Cullen died on February 10, 2024 , and was buried on February 15, 2023. Elaine was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters. These siblings were in their teens and moving into adulthood by the time Elaine arrived. She followed in their footsteps by attending Holy Infancy elementary and St. Ursula elementary schools and Bethlehem Catholic High School where she was a fine student and even a better athlete. In her high school career, Elaine earned the principal’s confidence enough to be entrusted with the key to the school and asked to open-up every morning. Her career to fidelity and commitment began at an early age.

Elaine’s  loving family nurtured her desire to serve God in a special manner, and she answered by entering the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1957. Responding again and again over the past 67 years, she generously said yes to God by tackling a variety of assignments and requests for help. Elaine’s teaching career reached from first grade to high school. She was the girls’ basketball coach, directed high school musicals, and was a disciplinarian where one look from her bright, brown eyes and level, quiet strength were enough to subdue adolescent exuberance at Pius X High School. In truth, the students at this school had such a respect for Elaine that discipline was not an issue.

In the early eighties, God called her to a totally new response at Chestnut Hill College as  the Chief Financial Officer. Safeguarding the financial affairs of such an institution drew on her accounting and management skills, and with these responsibilities came the opportunity to listen attentively to others and help them determine and categorize needs. Elaine handled this challenge with gumption and pure strength of heart. However, she tempered this tenacity with extraordinary care and kindness that many remember. She continued to use these skills at Sacred Heart Academy for twenty more years.

Until December, Elaine worked in the Congregation’s Business Office responding to Sisters’ questions about budgeting in their local communities. Approachable and encouraging, she has been the go-to “phone a friend” who offered solutions calmly and simply. Elaine moved with a “deliberate pace” which some might call slow. Perhaps she was taking her time to savor the beauty of that special love that decided everything for her. Surprisingly, death came quickly for this sister, and God was coming to meet her, so she moved like a fireball into His embrace. Remember the rest of us, Elaine, as we walk in your holy footsteps.