Sister Carmela, parochial school educator

October 30, 2008

Sister Carmela Duncan, a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence and a retired parochial school educator, died of heart failure Oct. 20 at her order's motherhouse in Catonsville. She was 97.

Alonzorine Margaret Duncan was born in Austin, Texas, and raised in Pittsburgh. After graduating from Peabody High School in 1929, she was sent to St. Rita's Academy, a school run by the Oblate Sisters in St. Louis.

Even though she was raised a Methodist, she converted to Catholicism. In 1930, she entered the Oblate Sisters and professed her vows in 1932.

Sister Carmela, who earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education, taught music to elementary school students at St. Monica, St. Pius V, St. Francis Xavier and St. Frances Academy parochial schools in Baltimore.

She also held teaching assignments in St. Louis and Chicago before joining the Mount Providence Child Development Center in Catonsville.

"It was encouraging to Sister to see how the children would rush to school in the morning so as to be the first to receive their piano lesson," said Sister Celestina Johnson, a member of the Oblate Sisters.

"There is no doubt that all of her former students will remember her as the 'No-Nonsense Teacher,' who was consistent in her demands for study and discipline - or else," Sister Celestina said.

Sister Carmela retired several years ago.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday.

Surviving are many cousins.

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