Obituary of M. Bernadette Okulicz, FSSJ
Sister Bernadette was a kind woman with a love for knowledge. She attended school in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree, before becoming a postulant in 1968. Sister Bernadette served as a librarian for over fifty years starting at Immaculata College and then to Divine Grace School before coming back home to her sisters at FSSJ. Outside of school and books, she enjoyed sewing, gardening, and crafting. Sister Bernadette was known to be one of the punniest people in the sisterhood.
Sister Bernadette was a home-town celebrity, co-hosting a local baking show titled “Our Daily Bread.” Her favorite way to share her love was with a freshly baked treat. She was affectionately named Bernie the Baker by those who knew her.
Sister M. Bernadette Okulicz died peacefully on Monday, November 5, 2018 at Mercy Hospital, Buffalo, NY in the 72nd year of life and the 53rd year of religious life.
Sr. Bernadette was born on April 30, 1946 in Trenton, NJ to the late Wallace and the late Jane (nee Nartowicz) Okulicz (Ksell). On January 25, 1964 she became a postulant and on August 2, 1968 Sister Bernadette professed her final vows.
Sister Bernadette received her Bachelor degree at the Caldwell College, Caldwell, NJ. For fifty plus years, Sr. Bernadette served God’s people as a librarian and in several congregational ministries. She began her library ministry at Immaculata College (later to become Hilbert College), Hamburg, NY and then at Mother of Divine Grace School, Cheektowaga, NY. Sr. Bernadette then chose to offer her services directly to assisting her sisters at the FSSJ Motherhouse, in the Infirmary in particular. After those rewarding years, Sr. Bernadette returned to library ministry at Immaculata Academy, Hamburg, NY and St. Francis High School, Athol Springs, NY. Upon her retirement from St. Francis High School, Sr. Bernadette continued her library work in the FSSJ Motherhouse library, again in direct service to her sisters.
Sr. Bernadette carried in her heart an immense love of her sisters. Even while suffering a series of health issues herself, Sr. Bernadette strove daily to bring a touch of joy to her sisters through small acts of kindness and warm smiles. She was known to be very “punny.” Her ability to create puns in nearly every situation was remarkable. Sr. Bernadette also had a strong love of “her boys” at St. Francis High School where she served as their librarian for eighteen years. She thoroughly enjoyed helping them with their research and class work and, whenever possible, she attended their concerts, games, and performances. She was a sewist, a gardener and a crafter but most of all she was a baker. For all those she loved – she baked! Bernie the Baker often shared her love for others through her baking. For a while she served as co-host of the diocesan TV show Our Daily Bread but her greater love was to personally hand someone a freshly baked treat.
Sr. Bernadette is survived by her brother Wallace Okulicz, her uncle Edmund Nartowicz, nephews and her Sisters in community.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 from 3:00 – 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis Park, Hamburg, New York where a Memorial Prayer Service will be held at 6:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered in the Chapel on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be at St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in memory of Sister Mary Bernadette Okulicz or to the St. Francis High School Scholarship Fund.
No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love God. ~ 1 Cor. 2:9