Sister Ruth O’Neill

Sister Ruth O’Neill entered eternal life on April 18, 2024 at Saint Joseph Villa, Flourtown, Pennsylvania.  Her funeral Mass was offered at Saint Joseph Villa on April 26, 2024.

Ruth was the daughter of Francis and Reba Wood O’Neill.  The family were members of Saint Timothy Parish in Philadelphia where Ruth attended Grade School.  She continued her education and graduated from Little Flower High School in Philadelphia.

It was during senior year at Little Flower that Ruth began attending to the “persistent voice of the Spirit,” and felt she “needed to give religious life a try.”  On April 14, 1952 Ruth received the religious habit of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and the religious name Sister Marie Timothy.

Ruth’s ministry in education brought her to Grade Schools and High Schools in the Archdioceses of Philadelphia and Newark as well as the Diocese of Camden. She served as teacher and administrator.  In addition to her positive outlook on events that could be upsetting, Ruth had the gift and the talent for reaching out to those whose first language was not English.  She served at the Foreign Language Resource Center at Chestnut Hill College and brought a calm and positive demeanor to some situations that could have been problematic.  In addition to this, Sister Ruth was responsible for organizing a tutoring program to assist Sisters from Vietnam who had come to study at Chestnut Hill College.

Ruth liked to laugh, and she appreciated that her experience of community living  included living in local communities where changes were welcome and where religious women embraced the teachings of Vatican II.  As she said, “This is a great life—even with its ups and downs.”  Ruth was the kind of person who encouraged those around her.  She would listen without passing judgment, and she knew how to express her care and support to those with whom she lived.

Concluding her reflection on the life of Sister Ruth O’Neill Sister Maureen Erdlen commented, “We are blessed to have had Ruth O’Neill among us as a Sister of Saint Joseph for seventy-two years.  May God welcome her into God’s loving embrace for all eternity.  Thank you, Ruth!”