Sister Mary E. Corbett died at Saint Joseph Villa on October 21, 2023. She was born January 2, 1933 to parents Charles and Henrietta Garvey Corbett, New Yorkers who nurtured their eight children with a deep love of God and service to His people. The family were faithful parishioners of Saint Benedict Parish in Philadelphia. Due to their large extended family the Corbetts enjoyed many get-togethers of happy memory. Presence to the needs of others in family and school influenced Mary’s prayerful consideration of religious life. The Corbett girls attended Little Flower High School where Mary encountered the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
In September 1952, Mary entered the Congregation. On her Day of Reception she received the habit and the name Sister Anne Charles. Sister taught for a short time in elementary school and then embarked on a long career teaching high school in Philadelphia, Chambersburg, Bethlehem and Warminster. During those years she completed a degree in religious studies from Providence College.
The Second Vatican Council gave impetus to a deep desire pulsing in the heart of Sister Anne Charles. Longing to meet the needs of people in Third World countries, Sister volunteered her service. With joy and optimism, she began ministry in the Spanish Apostolate in the Diocese of Camden. This afforded her an opportunity to improve her Spanish language skills. It opened a new world for Mary and deepened her desire to go to South America. From 1984 to 1989 Mary served as pastoral minister to God’s poor in Marcona, Peru. This long-awaited ministry gave joy to Mary’s heart. Afterward she served on the staff of the Jesuit Refugee Services in El Salvador. Several years ensued in which Sister Mary Corbett shared the expertise of her Third World Service. Especially significant were her contributions as a volunteer in the Social Justice Office at Mount Saint Joseph Convent. Living in community with Mary was to experience her utter unassuming way and her genuine giving of self in every need.
In December, 2020, Sister Mary Corbett embraced the ministry of Prayer and Presence at Saint Joseph Villa. For Mary this was an opportunity to return love for Love, a deepening of her contemplative essence, for she moved “always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.” – Preface of the SSJ Constitutions, page 7 We praise and thank our Loving God for Sister Mary Corbett, her “surrender, her sense of mission, her contemplation and courageous action” as a Sister of Saint Joseph. We ponder all that Mary has been and attribute to her 1 Corinthians 2: 9 Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard … what God has prepared for those who love Him.