SISTER JEAN MARIE RATHGABER, O.P., formerly Kathleen Rathgaber, a member of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York for the past 80 years, died on September 21, 2014 in St. Martin de Porres Community. Sister was 98 years of age.
Sister Jean Marie was born to Mary Kiernan and Ernest Rathgaber on June 27, 1916, in New York City. She entered the Sisters of St. Dominic on February 2, 1935, from the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, Springfeld Gardens, Long Island. She received the Dominican Habit on September 9, 1935, professed her first vows on September 13, 1936, and her perpetual vows on September 13, 1939. Sister held the B.A. in Fine Arts from Manhattan College, the M.A. in Sacred Science from St. Bonaventure University and the Ph.D. in Education from Fordham University. Sister's many years of active ministry were spent in the field of elementary, special education for the visually impaired, and in caring for migrant children. Sister also served as the Academic Dean of Dominican College, Blauvelt, New York.
Sister taught in St. Dominic's School, Blauvelt, New York, 1936-1940 and in the Bronx at Holy Spirit School 1940-1946 and St. Luke's, 1946-1948. From 1948-1965, Sr. Jean Marie ministered at Lavelle School for the Blind, Bronx, New York. From 1965 until 1972, Sister served as Academic Dean of Dominican College. In 1972, Sr. Jean Marie founded the House on the Hill Migrant Child Care Center, Goshen, New York, Sister ministered at House on the Hill until 1987 when she went to work for the New York State Agricultural Child Care Program. In 2004, Sister served as a volunteer for the ABCD Program , Newfane, New York.
Sister Jean Marie returned to St. Dominic's Convent in 2005 and was active in many volunteer projects. In addition to her religious congregation, Sister Jean Marie is survived by many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her sisters, Janice Trotta, and Mary Gardner and her brothers Daniel, Edward and Raymond Rathgaber.