Sister Marie Harkness, 83, Franciscan nun, nurse

April 26, 2005

Sister Marie Ernestine Harkness, a Franciscan nun and nurse, died of complications from multiple sclerosis Thursday at her order's retirement home in Aston, Pa. She was 83.

Born Caroline Rose Harkness in Sellersville, Pa., where she had her nursing education, she entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in 1944 and took the name Marie Ernestine.

In the 1950s, she joined the staff of what is now St. Joseph Medical Center as a pediatric supervisor and later headed the hospital's central supply department. She was part of the organizational team that helped plan the new hospital.

She was transferred to Lancaster, Pa., in the early 1970s and retired in 1987.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at the order's Assisi House in Aston.

Survivors include a brother, Thomas Harkness of West Lawn, Pa.; four sisters, Alice Southworth of Springfield, Ohio, Helen Louise Southworth of West Lawn, Pa., Ernestine Remp of Middletown, De1., and Catherine Fatzinger of Nazareth, Pa.; a half-sister, Faye Sweigart of West Lawn; and nieces and nephews.

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