Theresa Mary Sumner obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Theresa Mary Sumner

April 24, 1929 - March 24, 2015

Obituary


Sister Theresa Mary Sumner, R.S.M., was born Rosemary Sumner in Augusta, Ga. April 24, 1929. She died at Mercy Convent in Savannah March 24, 2015. Rosemary was the youngest child of George and Mary Ellen Sumner. She moved with her family to Tybee Island after her father died during her infancy. Her maternal grandfather, Dennis Lysaught, first chief of police on Tybee Island, became her beloved father figure. Graduating from Saint Vincent's Academy in 1950, Rosemary entered the community of the Sisters of Mercy. She took the name of Sister Theresa Mary and embarked on...

Sister Theresa Mary Sumner, R.S.M., was born Rosemary Sumner in Augusta, Ga. April 24, 1929. She died at Mercy Convent in Savannah March 24, 2015. Rosemary was the youngest child of George and Mary Ellen Sumner. She moved with her family to Tybee Island after her father died during her infancy. Her maternal grandfather, Dennis Lysaught, first chief of police on Tybee Island, became her beloved father figure. Graduating from Saint Vincent's Academy in 1950, Rosemary entered the community of the Sisters of Mercy. She took the name of Sister Theresa Mary and embarked on her lifetime career in childcare. Her first ministry was at Saint Vincent's Orphanage in Baltimore. Though she also cared for children at Villa Maria in Towson, Maryland, 42 of Sr. Theresa Mary's 48 years in the childcare profession were spent at Saint Mary's Home in Savannah, Ga. Sr. Theresa Mary attained her certification in Childcare from The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill during her years at St. Mary's Home. In a 1987 publication from the Province of Baltimore, Sr. Theresa Mary stated: My ministry as a Sister has always been childcare. God has given me the grace, strength and courage to help very special children. Through the years, I have felt the presence of the Lord many times. Almost two decades later, in Catherine's Sisters (2006, p.207) the author writes: Sr. Theresa Mary claims that love for children has informed her life's work. From early morning awakening to reminders to say their night prayers, she has been a daily parent to hundreds of boys and girls in Georgia and Maryland. In 2008, Sr. Theresa Mary received the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan award, a life-time achievement award given out by Catholic Charities, USA. The commemorative plaque reads: In recognition of over fifty years of dedicated service to the care and development of children separated from their families. Her faith, love, sense of humor and professionalism has helped thousands of children to achieve their God-given potential. Sr. Theresa Mary's consistency provided stability accompanied by a gentle manner and a loving smile. For decades, grateful recipients of her care returned to share news of their marriages, children and careers. She was always quick to give them credit for their success. At Sr. Theresa Mary's request there will be no wake but she asks for prayers. Sr. Theresa Mary was predeceased by her parents and siblings, including Sr. Mary Gratiana Sumner, R.S.M. She is survived by members of her Mercy community, her two nieces, Helen Sumner Mann, Gloria Sumner Williams, and two nephews, Robert Middleton and Dennis Sumner. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10am on Friday, March 27 at The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist with Father Jay Madden officiating. Burial will follow at The Catholic Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mercy Convent, 11801 McAuley Drive, Savannah, GA. 31419.