Sister Rosaria, Good Shepherd Leader

August 09, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Sister Mary Rosaria Baxter, former provincial leader of the Sisters of Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America, died of kidney cancer July 23 at St. Vincent Care Center in Emmitsburg. She was 68.

She was born Maureen Baxter in New York City, and was raised there and in Phoenix, Ariz., and Charlotte, N.C., where she graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School.

She entered the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, then located in their motherhouse at Mount and Hollins streets in Southwest Baltimore, in 1961. She professed her vows in 1963.

Sister Rosaria earned a bachelor's degree in home economics education from St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, and a master's degree in counseling in the late 1960s from Loyola College.

She worked with young girls and women at the old facility on Hollins Street and later at a school that the order operated on Calverton Road. The programs later merged when the Good Shepherd Center opened on Maple Avenue in Halethorpe in 1970.

From 1976 to 1984, she worked with Good Shepherd programs in Baltimore, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Sister Rosaria was administrator of the Good Shepherd Center from 1990 to 2006.

In 2008, she became provincial leader of the Sisters of Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America, and resigned in May from the position because of failing health.

"Sister Rosaria was very outgoing, and she exuded care," said Sister Mary Regina Long. "She was a great lady and very self-giving."

Sister Rosaria enjoyed gardening and cooking.

"She also loved to swim, and every morning she faithfully did the Jane Fonda exercise workout," Sister Regina said.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered in the chapel at the Good Shepherd Center on July 28.

Surviving are her mother, Nora Baxter of Halethorpe; a brother, Joseph Baxter of Charlotte, N.C.; and many nieces and nephews.

- Frederick N. Rasmussen

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