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Sr Miriam Cripps (Charlotte Miriam Cripps)

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 08/08/2019

SMSM SistersSister Miriam Cripps smsm

[Formerly Sr. Mary Francis Miriam]

July 14th, 1933 – August 8th, 2019


Charlotte Miriam Cripps was born on July 14th, 1933, in Framingham, Massachusetts, to the late Alvin and Pearl (Thying) Cripps. After graduating from high school, she worked for a number of years in the offices of the Dow Chemical Company.  But she gradually felt the insistent call to give her life completely to God.  She asked to enter the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, was accepted, and entered the congregation on September 8th, 1963 in Waltham, Massachusetts.

At 30, Miriam was the eldest of a group of 30 postulants, who came from all over the USA.  In those days discernment was done after the person entered rather than before, and as a result many either decided to leave or were sent away.  This could have been very discouraging, but Miriam always seemed happy and grateful to be where she was: following her heart’s deepest desire.

In the novitiate, she took the name, Sr Mary Francis Miriam, and on March 9th, 1966, she was one of 10 novices who made their first vows.

Afterwards, Sr. Miriam was sent to our house at 13 Isabella Street in Boston. There she was a “storekeeper” for the religious article store on the first floor of our residence and also studied accounting at Bentley College, which was then located in downtown Boston. She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting in 1968, and several months later set out for her first mission assignment in Samoa. She taught at Savalalo from 1968 - 1971 and then at Vaimoso from 1971-1975.  Many of our Samoan SMSM were taught by her in secondary school and have told us or written to share their appreciation of her teaching and her care for each of her students.

In 1975 Sr. Miriam was called from Samoa to Rome to serve as the General Financial Administrator for the next five years. Miriam appreciated this time in Rome, when she learned more about the congregation by living with the General Council in EUR. She also enjoyed getting to know the city of Rome during those years.

Miriam returned to the USA and from 1981 to 1984 served as the Financial Administrator for Maristhill Nursing Home.

Then for five months in 1985, Sr. Miriam returned to Rome for her Long-Term Spiritual Renewal. Perhaps it was during this time that she discerned a desire to be involved in Religious Education.  Returning to the USA, she asked to be able to do studies that would prepare her for this ministry.

From 1985 to 1988 Sr. Miriam studied at Assumption College in Worcester, while continuing some part-time service at Maristhill. Some of her classes were evening classes and she found it difficult driving back and forth to Worcester in snow, ice and rain in the winter.  But she persevered and obtained her MA in Religious Education in 1988.

In 1989 Miriam set out for a mission destination that she grew to love very much – the Marist Collaborative parish (St Francis and Blaise) in Brooklyn NY. It was a large multi-cultural and multi-lingual parish: there were people from Haiti and other islands of the Caribbean as well as others from Central or South America. The Marist Fathers had taken responsibility for this parish and invited other members of the Marist Family to join them.  For the next seven years a number of our Sisters served there, living in an apartment across the street from the church.  Sr. Miriam devoted herself to the religious education of the children. When the Sisters withdrew from this parish in 1994, there was a farewell gathering and Sr Miriam was awarded a plaque by the parishioners in appreciation for her ministry of religious education.

Just two months after returning from Brooklyn in 1994, Sr. Miriam set out for yet another mission – this time in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Once again, she was involved in Religious Education, and in November 1996, she became the Directress of Catholic Education in the Diocese.

In December 1997, Sr. Miriam returned to the USA because of medical needs. She was assigned to the Grove Street community. In May 1999 she began to work at the Provincial Office building, doing the Mission Accounts and assisting with Immigration.

In 2001, Miriam had the opportunity to once again be involved with Religious Education – this time in our own parish of Sacred Heart here in Waltham. She began working in the RCIA program and loved it! Fr. Dennis, the pastor there, recently told us that the people instructed by her at that time still speak of their appreciation of her teaching.

Over these years, Sr. Miriam had many health issues and surgeries. In September 2005 she moved to the Newton St community and remained there. But in January 2006 she returned to her work at the Office building full time. In 2008 she began to hand over some of her work to others. She had a number of falls over these years and was losing energy. She finally retired from the Office work in December 2016 but continued doing the accounts for the Newton St community.

Recently Sr Miriam, who a few years ago never wanted to leave “62”, had come to the conclusion that it was time for her to move to the Marillac residence.  She seemed very happy, serene – even joyful – at the farewell prayer and celebration on August 1st, the eve of her departure.  It seems that the first night that she was in her new room, she had a fall and bumped her head. The next day she was laughing about it – not thinking it was anything serious.  But on Sunday morning she did not wake up and was brought to the Newton-Wellesley Hospital.  It is believed that she had bleeding on the brain caused by her fall.  She never regained consciousness and died on August 8th.

Sr. Miriam will always be remembered by those who knew her as one “joyfully given to God for the sake of the kingdom in the spirit of Mary”. (Constitutions #23) May she rest in peace.

Gratefully in Mary,


Sister Mary Jane Kenney, smsm                                             Sister Virginia Fornasa, smsm

Regional Leader                                                                     Communications Secretary