Death of Sr Gabriel McAvey

Sr Gabriel McAvey, a much loved teacher in Collinstown Park Community College for 20 years, died on March 4th in Philadelphia. She was a Maths and Religion teacher here from 1989-2009.

She celebrated not one but two retirements in Collinstown, coming back after her first retirement to teach on a part time basis until she retired in 2009. She then went to work as a volunteer in the Capuchin Day Centre. She moved to the mother house of her order in 2011.

May she rest in Peace

More details to follow. Link to the official announcement

It was with heartfelt sadness that we learned this week of the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Sr. Gabriel McAvey. The news reached us from across the Atlantic, filtering down the corridors of Collinstown Park, into the many rooms, rooms where Gabriel had worked. There seemed to be a collective sigh of ‘Ah’ when we learned of our loss.

Sr. Gabriel was first and foremost, a lady. Gentle and reserved, considerate and thoughtful, who had an ear for everyone and a kind word for all. For those starting off their careers, she was especially mindful and known for her solid advice and practical observations! She was an integral member of staff at Collinstown Park, teaching, guiding, counselling and laughing- there was always laughter-simply put, she was part of our community.

As well as the spiritual and the academic, there was another vital attribute that Sr. Gabriel brought to Collinstown Park…cookie-making! With regularity she would make chocolate chip cookies for the staff and her students, a gesture that always seemed to arrive at just the right time!

She told us of her varied life within her religious order and the joy of her life’s work which saw her make America her home. She knew the Kennedys, Jack (as she called him) and Bobby and spent quite a bit of time with the Kennedy family in the 1960’s, the assassination of JFK she described as ‘surreal and saddening’. She was a mine of information and a great woman to sit down and have a chat with.

For all of us, who have worked with and loved Sr.Gabriel, this is a very sad time. Her great affection for her students and work colleagues will always be remembered as will her ready smile and kind words. They say that we must be the ‘servant of the servant of the Lord’ and this was something that Gabriel lived by. Indeed, God broke the mould when He made her.

Carol Dunne

Sr Gabriel at her retirement in 2009
Sr Gabriel with Bernard Dunne and his World Championship belt