Sister Teresa Marie Patora, 92, died at Blessed Mary Angela Care Center in Buffalo on Feb. 1, 2019. The former Theresa Patora was born June 7, 1926, in Erie, Pa. She attended school in Erie, then graduated from Villa Maria Academy in Buffalo.
Sister Teresa entered the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province of the Felician Sisters in Buffalo, on July 9, 1945, professed perpetual vows on Aug. 9, 1953, and continued ministering as a Felician Sister for 73 years. Sister Teresa Marie furthered her education at Mount St. Joseph Teachers (now Medaille) College, Buffalo, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Education. Sister Teresa Marie also held a master's in Religious Education from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Early in religious life, Sister Teresa Marie served at St. Rita's Home for Children in Getzville as a nurses' aide; at Guardian Angel Day Care Center, Buffalo, as a nursery school teacher; and at Queen of Martyrs School, Cheektowaga, as a kindergarten teacher.
She commenced her service in Canada in 1949 in Toronto. From 1952 to 1957, she was involved in parish ministry, social work and teaching of Catechetics. After a short stay in the United States, Sister Teresa Marie returned to Canada in 1959 as a teacher at SS. Peter & Paul School in Welland, Ontario. On June 13, 1966, she became a Canadian citizen. From 1964 to 1970, she served as teacher and principal in Hamilton, Dunnville, and Streetsville, Ontario.
After broadening her education, she took on the role of religion consultant in St. Catharine's, and later in Hamilton. She also served in leadership in some local communities. On Sept. 24, 1978, she was permanently transferred to the Holy Name of Mary Vice-Province. She spent a total of 40 years ministering in Canada. In 1989, Sister Teresa Marie was elected to leadership at Holy Name of Mary Province as provincial vicar from 1983 to 1989. Shortly afterward, in 1989, her leadership services extended to Our Lady Mediatrix of Graces Generalate in Rome, for three years. Upon her return, she served the poor at St. Felix Centre in Toronto.
In August 1995, Sister Teresa Marie returned to the United States and assisted the sisters in the Infirmary for several years. She served in parish ministry in Erie, Pa., Oswego and Syracuse. She then served in diverse ways at St. Francis Residence, Buffalo. She was permanently transferred back to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province on May 1, 1996. Due to physical weakness, Sister Teresa Marie became a patient in the Blessed Mary Angela Care Center in 2014. When celebrating her 50th Jubilee she wrote, "I am most grateful that God has looked upon me with such great love and called me to Himself to make known his love to all I meet."
Sister Teresa Marie is survived by her sister, Helen Dubowski and nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, Stephen and Josephine (Smolinska) Patora, her brothers, Walter, Henry and Stephen Szymczak and her sister, SM Tyburcia Szymczak, CSSF.A funeral Mass was celebrated on Feb. 4. Burial took place in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga.