Sister Virginia Farrell M.M. , Maryknoll Sister for 55 Years Dies

Maryknoll, NY: Sister Virginia Farrell, M.M. died on April 14th, 2020 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll, NY. She had been a Maryknoll Sister for 55 years and was 94 years old. Virginia was born in Paterson, NJ on August 12th, 1925 to Mildred (Pyle) Farrell and George Farrell. She had one sister, Mrs. Ruth Paules and two brothers, George and Thomas.

Virginia attended Bassick High School in Bridgeport, CT from 1939-1943. Following graduation, she attended the University of Connecticut and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in 1948.

From 1948-1964, she engaged in various medical positions: Instructor at University of Connecticut School of Nursing in Storrs, CT (1948-1949); Polio nursing-private duty (1949), Pediatrics Staff Nurse at New York Hospital in New York, NY (1950), Instructor at St. Joseph School of Nursing in San Francisco, CA  (1950 – 1952), U.S. Army Nurse Corps with assignments to Korea where she met the Maryknoll Sisters and served as a volunteer during her off-time at their Pusan Clinic (1952-1961), Germany with the Mobile Army Surgical training Unit – MASH, and Iran to help set up their Army Nurse Corps.

In 1955, she earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; she also served as a member of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during this time. From 1961-1963, Virginia joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), to serve as Hospital Nursing Services Advisor in Managua, Nicaragua. While she was in Nicaragua, she also volunteered as a nurse with the Maryknoll Sisters for a few months in Siuna.

Virginia followed her calling and entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Valley Park, Missouri on October 18th, 1964. She made her First Profession of Vows at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY on June 24th, 1967 and her Final Vows on June 22nd, 1974 at the Maryknoll Sisters residence in Rhode Island.

In 1968, Sister Virginia was assigned to Vietnam where she was appointed Field Director of a Medical Team designed to work with Vietnamese counterparts in provincial hospitals. After two years, she was then assigned to South America to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Peru, participating in emergency and relief organizations following the terrible earthquake in Huaraz which took approximately 50,000 lives. Her work with (WHO) also took her to Nicaragua where she organized a clinic in the outskirts of Managua.

In 1971, Sister Virginia returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY to provide aid to the ill and elderly Sisters at the Congregations Nursing Home. In 1972, she was assigned to Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hazard, KY to serve as Head Nurse of the Extended Care Facility and Coordinator of the Hospital In-Service Education Program until 1978. She then served as Hospital Outreach Coordinator with the Ephraim McDowell Community Cancer Center in Hazard, KY until 1980.

Sister Virginia had a passion for caring for the ill and elderly, responding to the need in the Hazard, KY community she founded the “Hazard/Perry County Community Hospice, Inc.” in 1979.  The hospice program allowed families to be with their loved ones in the final stages of their life. Sister Virginia served as Director of the Hospice until 1992 when she retired.

In 2005, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.

Funeral Services: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be scheduled for a date in the future when group gatherings are deemed safe. Sister Virginia’s family and our community remember her soul in prayer during this difficult time.