Sister Mary Leonissa, 91, teacher

December 25, 2005

Sister Mary Leonissa Clements, a longtime elementary school teacher and member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, died Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center after suffering a stroke. She was 91 and lived at Villa Assumpta.

Born Geraldine Rose Clements in Washington, D.C., she attended St. Boniface School in Philadelphia and was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She worked in a hosiery mill before entering the order in 1934 and studying at the Institute of Notre Dame.

She received a teaching certificate from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in education from St. John University in Brooklyn, N.Y. She began teaching elementary school at St. Theresa in Washington and continued at parishes in Rochester, N.Y., and Brooklyn. She also taught at St. Jerome and Sacred Heart schools in Baltimore.

From 1969 to 1974, Sister Leonissa served as superior and principal at St. Vincent Orphanage in Tacony, Pa. She subsequently taught math, reading and religion at Bishop John Neumann Middle School in Baltimore, among other assignments.

She moved to Villa Assumpta in 1992. "She was a faithful friend," said Sister Bernice Feilinger of the Maria Health Care Center.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Villa Assumpta, 6401 N. Charles St.

Sister Leonissa is survived by nieces and nephews.

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