The Council of Women Religious

Jubilee Celebration

The Council of Women Religious for the Diocese of Raleigh

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A Celebration of
Consecrated Life

"My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord!"

Saturday, February 7, 2008,  Mass was celebrated by Bishop Burbidge at 10a.m. in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh, NC.

A reception was held after the Liturgy at the Clarion Hotel, Raleigh.

Congratulations to
our Jubilarians: 

Sr. Attracta Kelly, OP - 60 Years
Sr. Maxine Tancraiter, CDP - 50 Years
Sr. Edna English, DW - 50 Years
Sr. Monique Dissen, IHM - 50 Years



    Above: Sister Maxine Tancraitor, Sister Attracta Kelly, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop Emeritus F. Joseph Gossman, Sister Edna English and Sister Monique Dissen at Jubilee Celebration recognizing the four sisters for their life-long ministry.

Many thanks to the following members of the Council of Religious who have made this celebration possible:

Sister Mary Therese Brown, SND; Sister Barbara Marie Cady, SU; Sister Mary Ann Czaja, SA; Sister Margaret Gallagher, IHM; Sister Joan Jurski, OSF; Sister Mary Jean Korejwo, SND; Sister Lois McGillivray, SNJM; Sister Gerry Megel, OP; Sister Shirley Ann Simpson, CSC; and Sister Joanna Walsh, FCJ.

Sister Maxine Tancraitor, C. D. P. - 60 Years

Sister Maxine Tancraitor is a member of the Congregation of Divine Providence, who spent 13 years of her ministry in Puerto Rico, teaching and administering in a high school sponsored by her Congregation. After returning to the mainland, she served in pastoral ministry in the Pittsburgh area for 20 years, but yearned to work with the new Spanish-speaking immigrants to the U.S. She and Sister Theresine Gildea, C.D.P., began this ministry in Monroe, NC, near Charlotte. When that community became more settled, they moved to Clinton, NC, to serve in Immaculate Conception Parish and its two missions: Pink Hill and Posada Guadalupana, Mt. Olive (now Maria Reina de las Americas Parish).

In addition to her pastoral work at the parish, Sister Maxine is embarking on a new venture at the county jail—teaching character education to inmates preparing to be released back to the community. She speaks of the joy she has known in her life in her community, where she made her commitment and never looked back. Her love for the people she works with as well as prayer and community sustain her.


Sister Edna English, D.W. – 50 Years

Sister Edna English is a native North Carolinian, and was not a Catholic when she began nurse’s training under the tutelage of the Daughters of Wisdom. She came into the Church after her sophomore year. When she completed her training, she worked for 2 ˝ years at a hospital in Portsmouth, VA, in the segregated unit. She says that those years remain the most instructive of her nursing career as she and the others in the unit made do with second-hand equipment and fewer resources than the adjacent white unit. Sister joined the Daughters of Wisdom, attracted by the hard work of the Sisters, their willingness to do whatever was needed to help those in their care, and the special concern they had for poor women and children.

As a Sister, Sister Edna worked in Brooklyn, NY, with children who had contracted polio, and led the maternity and pediatrics unit of a hospital in Port Jefferson, NY. She came to UNC-Chapel Hill to earn a master’s degree in nursing and sought an assignment where skilled nursing was difficult to find. She went to work for the NC Department of Health supervising and teaching the nurses in state health clinics in eastern North Carolina. After 20 years Sister retired from her work for the state, and appreciates the time she now has to pray, read and serve within her community of Greenville and St. Gabriel’s parish. She trains liturgical ministries at the parish, serves as guardian ad litem to two children in the area, and keeps an open home where people can come to pray and talk.

Sister Attracta Kelly, O.P. – 50 Years

Sister Attracta Kelly joined the Adrian Dominican Sisters after growing up in a household that encouraged her to help others, particularly the less fortunate. The ministries that Sister Attracta has enjoyed reflect her Congregation’s interest in responding to the signs of the times. She taught in Florida before being assigned as principal of a parish school in Montgomery, AL, at the peak of the school integration tumult. Sister Attracta spent three months in Northern Ireland, her birthplace, and during that time worked with the Jesuits at Portadown at a high point in sectarian violence. From there she was elected to leadership in her Community and led its efforts in peace and justice.

During that time, the Congregation was asked to provide safe residence for Central American refugees, denied residency by the U.S., until their papers arrived for transition to Canada. Aware of the vulnerability of such refugees, Sister Attracta attended law school, graduating from Catholic University School of Law and passing the bar exam for Maryland and Washington, D.C. Sister currently leads the immigration law section of the NC Justice Center and supervises the immigration law efforts for the Diocese of Raleigh in Raleigh, Wilmington and Greenville.


Sister Monique Dissen, IHM – 50 Years

Sister Monique Dissen is a member of the Scranton-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM). The IHM spirit is joyful loving service, and Sister Monique expressed that spirit for 38 years teaching children in the primary grades. After teaching, Sister spent a sabbatical with the Carmelite Sisters where she discerned that she would like to minister to the sick, the dying and their families.

Sister has built this ministry at St. Paul’s Parish in New Bern since1998. Sister Monique teaches volunteers who visit the sick in their homes to give their caregivers time off, bring the Eucharist to patients from the surrounding areas at Craven Regional Medical Center, and comfort those in the hospital’s psychiatric ward. She reports that she and her team start on the top floor of the hospital and work their way downstairs visiting patients along the way. Sister also serves as an Adjunct Chaplain to all faiths at the hospital and has been honored for over 500 volunteer hours. More recently, Sister is working with a hospice nurse to facilitate a grieving group to those who recently lost a loved one, and they have completed their first seven-session grief ministry program.

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"Passing On the Gift"
Council of Women Religious
Diocese of Raleigh, NC

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