As the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville celebrate the 170th anniversary of our Congregation, we spotlight Sister Francis Dominici Piscatella who turns 110 years old on April 20, 2023! She is now the oldest Religious Sister in the United States, according to the Gerontology Research Group.
There will be a special Mass on April 20th at 10:45 AM in St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville. It will be followed by a luncheon for friends and family which is open to the media.
“As our Religious Congregation celebrates this important anniversary, it is remarkable to note that S. Francis has served as a sister for more than half of our history,” said Prioress Peggy McVetty.
Sister Francis has known many joys, but she is also no stranger to adversity. When she was two years old, her left forearm was amputated. Due to her disability, she was turned away from several other religious communities before joining the Amityville Dominicans in 1931.
As she told Catholic News Service last year, “Nobody has ever had to help me,” Piscatella said. “If anyone was helping somebody, it was I helping them. My mother made me completely independent. When I went to the convent, I had to prove to my superiors that there was nothing I couldn’t do.” She taught in many local elementary schools as well as serving 17 years at Dominican Commercial High School in Queens. For 52 years, she worked at Molloy University in Rockville Centre, teaching and then serving in the Finance Office. She retired at 84 years old.
She currently lives in her home in East Williston with fellow Amityville Dominican Sister Francis Daniel Kammer, who was her student. Sister Francis Piscatella sponsored her when she joined the Congregation.
To help celebrate the 170th anniversary, the Congregation has installed a special exhibit on the first-floor hallways of the Motherhouse entitled Alive in Joy and Hope: Where Past Meets Present and Becomes Now.
This experience will help visitors understand the story, ministry and mission of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville. There are many stories highlighted including the founding of the Congregation when four sisters sailed to the United States in 1853 to help immigrant children. They founded schools, hospitals, orphanages, and many ministries. The Sisters also founded Molloy University in Rockville Centre in 1955 – originally a Catholic College for women – where S. Francis served for more than 50 years.
“Sister Francis represents the living story of our congregation,” said Prioress Sister Peggy McVetty. “We are humbled and blessed by her life of constant prayer, meaningful relationships, selfless giving, and tenacious spirit!”