Sister Mary Philip was born on July 26, 1920 in Scranton, PA. It was the feast of St. Anne and Sister Mary Philip was given the name “Anna” by her parents Grace and Walter Ramoska, both of whom were born in Lithuania and emigrated to the United States. After arriving in Scranton, her father got a job in the mines. He contracted “miner’s asthma, a serious condition that ultimately led to his death. Sister Mary Philip was the oldest girl of nine children. Three of her brothers, including her older brother John, and three of her sisters preceded her in death. Two of her sisters are living, Helen Rojenches in Taylor PA and Sister Lourdine, SSC at Franciscan Village in Lemont, who answered God’s call to religious life a few years after Sister Mary Philip entered our community.
Sister Mary Philip attended Kosciusko School grades 1-3 and St. Joseph School for grades 4-8 where the Sisters of St. Casimir were her teachers. Her parents felt that transferring her to a Catholic school would give her the basics of the faith. She admired the Sisters and hoped to be like them. This desire lay dormant for several years when, after graduating from Johnson Trade School, it awakened, as she said, “out of a clear blue sky,” and her wish came true. When she entered the Sisters of St. Casimir community in 1940, she completed her high school education at St. Casimir Academy.
Sister Mary Philip made first vows on August 15, 1943. She had the joy of celebrating many Jubilees of her religious profession: her Silver Jubilee in 1968, Golden in 1993, Diamond (60 years) in 2003 and Diamond (75 years) in 2018.
From 1943 – 1959 Sister Mary Philip prepared meals for the Sisters in various places including Holy Cross and Loretto Hospitals in Chicago IL, St. Joseph Hospital in Osmond, NB, Holy Family Villa in Lemont IL, and several convents where the Sisters were teaching in the parish school. In 1959, she trained as an LPN and worked as a nurse at St. Joseph Home in Holland PA from 1960-1981. She considered those years a great blessing in her life as she was able to care for the elderly as well as her own mother for the last two years of her life. In 1981, she returned to the Motherhouse in Chicago and worked as an LPN in our infirmary until 2005. When she retired from full time ministry, she continued to help in whatever way she could, and by her ministry of prayer and presence at the Motherhouse, and later, at Franciscan Village. On her Diamond Jubilee, Sister Mary Philip wrote “I consider my religious vocation as the blessing above all blessings in my life from Our Lord. It is indeed a privilege to be one of the so-called chosen ones.”
Sister Mary Philip once said that she believed “life is partly what you make it!” and she certainly made it pleasant for herself and those around her. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was an avid sports fan and never said “no” to going to a White Sox game when Sister Immacula had tickets, but she also always followed her favorite Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers. Her relatives in Pennsylvania knew just what to send her when the Eagles won the Superbowl in 2018 – a surprise package of all kinds of Philadelphia memorabilia! They were always sharing great wins and great losses across the miles, but this was a victory that could not be ignored. One of Sister Mary Philip’s memorable experiences at a White Sox game was having her picture taken with a famous Sox pitcher who came up to the front row in the stand where the Sisters were sitting and signed Sister Immacula’s scorecard. When Sister Mary Philip could no longer go to the games, she often sent a note to a few of us whom she thought might be going, saying, “I can’t go anymore, but I want you to take this $10 and buy yourself a hot dog.”
Sister Mary Philip had a great talent for artistry and calligraphy. Those were the days when you could not just press a button on your computer to get the script you wanted and paste flowers on the page from an array of images on the internet. Everything, flowers, designs, script, were carefully produced by hand. And Sister Mary Philip used this talent well. When others needed something done that could use this special touch, she was willing and able to do it.
Sister Mary Philip had many things she loved to do. During times of recreation, she enjoyed putting puzzles together, playing cards, doing handwork. There were times she would go to play the piano in simple tunes. When the Sisters moved to Franciscan Village, Sister Margaret Zalot sent a note around listing various items that the Sisters might need and asking them to check off what they wanted. The list included office supplies, etc. At the bottom of the list, it said “other,” so Sister Mary Philip wrote “a piano.” There was no way we could bring a piano to her apartment at Franciscan Village, but we were able to find her an electronic keyboard and she was very happy with that.
Sister Mary Philip wanted very much to reach her 100th birthday saying, “I want to see what it’s like to be 100!” She was proud of reaching that milestone. Although, at that time there were restrictions on what we could do to celebrate because of all the precautions around Covid, celebrate we did with balloons and songs and gifts. When the hospice nurse walked into her room a few days later and commented on the balloons that clearly said 100, Sister Mary Philip promptly responded, “Not just a 100 but a 100 and 4 days.”
Sister Mary Philip was a pleasant, joyful person, someone who accepted life as it came, the things that she could not change, but always seemed to have a positive side, a way to accept and live with a peaceful heart. Throughout the years that they both shared life at the Motherhouse and later in Franciscan Village, Sister Mary Philip and her sister, Sister Lourdine stayed close, spending time with one another, sharing conversation and a coffee break each day. Sister Mary Philip was dearly loved by her family who always enjoyed the visits from her and her sister. We are grateful for Sister Mary Philip, for her life as our Sister, for the life lessons she leaves with us. May she now enjoy the fullness of life and joy in God’s presence forever.
Sister Mary Philip was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Grace Ramoska, her brothers Walter, Joseph, and John Ramoska, and her sisters, Mary Ramoska, Aldona (Ben) Kucy, and Frances (Vincent) Bullet;
Sister Mary Philip is survived by her sisters, Sister M. Lourdine, SSC of Lemont IL and Helen Rojenches of Taylor PA as well as many nieces, nephews, and the Sisters of St. Casimir
Living member of Sister Mary Philip’s Profession Class:
- Sister Concetta Petrauskas
Deceased members of Sister Mary Philip’s Profession Class:
- Sister M. Clement Mazgelis
- Sister M. Francetta Vendzelis
- Sister M. Elizabeth Kerdokas
- Sister M. Norbert Ginelevich
- Sister M. Matthew Pauza
- Sister M. Stella Stanevicius
- Sister M. Callista Bublius
- Sister M. Modesta Bugaila