Rosemary Ritchie, SHCJ (Mother Alice Mary)
December 4, 1933 – January 13, 2022
Rosemary Ritchie, SHCJ, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 66 years, died peacefully on Thursday, January 13, 2022. She was 88 years of age.
Gloria Coleman, SHCJ, offered the following about her friend, “Sister Rosemary was a true friend whose life was personified by her goodness, her caring, and her faithfulness to so many in her life of service.” She will be deeply missed.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sister Rosemary, a “Saint Edward’s girl,” attended elementary school at Saint Edward School in the city’s Fairhill neighborhood and high school at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School. It was at Saint Edward’s where Sister Rosemary first met the Holy Child Sisters. The Sisters have served in Fairhill since 1886.
Sister Rosemary entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus immediately after high school and made her first and final vow in 1953 and 1960, respectively. She became well known by her religious name Mother Alice Mary.
Blessed with a cheerful disposition, Sister Rosemary was a well-loved and admired teacher. She taught in Philadelphia at Saint James School (1955-1964), Assumption School (1964-1968), and Holy Spirit School (1968-1971). In 1971, Sister Rosemary returned to her alma mater, Saint Edward School, where she taught and served as the assistant principal for three years. In 1974, Sister Rosemary moved to Pasadena, California, where she taught for two years at the Assumption School (1974-1976). Upon returning to the Philadelphia area, Sister Rosemary taught at Holy Child School at Rosemont (1976-1980) before spending a year in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Theological Union.
Beginning in 1981, Sister Rosemary divided the next 10 years between teaching at Holy Child Academy in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania (1981-1986) and Annunciation School in Washington, D.C. (1986-1991). All this led up to the crowning ministry of her life: 12 years at Saint Mary of the Assumption School in Philadelphia, where she served as principal and was indispensable to the pastors at both Saint Mary’s and the neighboring Saint Lucy Parish. As a pastoral minister, she often visited the hospitalized parishioners. Sister Rosemary became known and loved by the entire community, especially when she and Sister Gloria Coleman lived in a house adjacent to Saint Mary of the Assumption’s rectory.
In 2014, Sister Rosemary’s failing vision brought her to Holy Child Center in Rosemont. Although her sight was weak, Sister Rosemary’s joy and compassion remained strong. She was loved by both the Sisters and staff.
Sister Rosemary earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1966, and a Master of Science degree in reading from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1974.
Sister Rosemary joins her parents, John, and Alice (McDermott), and her brothers John and Joseph, and her sister Anne. She is survived by several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
Services and Interment are private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010, or made online at www.shcj.org/american/donate.