CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WIVB) — Months after losing six members of their religious order to Covid, the Felician Sisters had something to celebrate on Holy Thursday.
Sister Mary Ursuline Hilinski and about 60 other Felician Sisters at the Villa Maria campus in Cheektowaga got their second dose of the Moderna vaccine just hours before celebrating her 100th birthday.
This woman of faith holds a Masters Degree and was once the principal of schools like Queen of Martyrs School in Cheektowaga, and St. Hyacinth School in Dunkirk. She also lived through historic events like the Great Depression , and now this pandemic.
Asked what she hopes we all can learn from this pandemic, Sister Mary Ursuline said, “To appreciate each other more, because sometimes we take people for granted.”
Last fall, this motherhouse lost six Felician Sisters to Covid. Most of the surviving sisters could not gather together to mourn. “That was the hardest part that you had to sit alone and time was dragging,” said Sister Mary Ursuline.
The Blessed Mary Angela Car Center didn’t technically qualify as a ‘congregate setting’ in the eyes of the NY State Health Department so, for months, they had trouble finding anyone to bring the vaccine to them here.”
“I’ve been advocating for this since December,” said John Beyer, president and CEO of the Catholic Health LIFE program. He says Catholic Health managed to use one of its pharmacies to bring the vaccines on site. “It’s nice to give back to the Sisters that gave so much to the community.”
Sister Mary Ursuline believes the worst of the pandemic is over, and with her second shot of a Covid vaccine, she is now more protected. “I try to take things as they come, and try to make the best of it, and try to see the will of God in it.”
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.