Obituary: Sister Theresa Cunningham, SNDdeN, one-time Pilot staff member
The offices of The Pilot, as long-time readers and subscribers recall, were located in downtown Boston. First at 49 Franklin Street, and then for a short while, at the corner of Tremont Street and Temple Place. For some years at Franklin Street and for all our time at Tremont Street, among our staff was Sister Theresa Cunningham, SNDdeN. She had been "recruited" by Sister Mary Ellen Sweney, SNDdeN, to assist in tasks, some would call mundane, but they were really essential to the work of both The Pilot and Boston Catholic Directory.
Sister Theresa filed Pilot clippings in the "clippings" folders; she created new files for photo files (we still have most of those files) and she ID'd photos and filed them for archival reference. She helped track down "delayed" responses for updated information for the Boston Catholic Directory. She was especially effective here because when priests (especially) but most parish staff got a call from "Sister," in our case either Theresa or Mary Ellen, they, shall we simply say, "cooperated?"
Sister Theresa was always a steady and hard worker. She was good at details but was never fastidious. She also enjoyed talking with priests, some of whom had been contemporaries or students or friends of her late brother, Msgr. Richard Cunningham.
Sister Theresa was one of the nine children, and the last surviving of them, of the late Francis and Rose (Branley) Cunningham. The family lived in Hyde Park and then moved to West Roxbury. Theresa had one sister, Dorothy Curtis, and seven brothers: Msgr. Richard Cunningham, Francis, Thomas, John, William, Philip, and Edmond.
She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1945 and received the name Sister Rose Francis (honoring both parents). In the following years and prior to her arrival at Franklin Street some 25 years ago, she served in assignments teaching at archdiocesan schools at St. Gregory, Dorchester, in both elementary and high schools; at St. Mary, Lawrence; and at St. Ambrose, Dorchester.
Sister Theresa retired to Notre Dame Residence in Ipswich and she lived until just a few weeks ago when she needed some extra medical care that could be better provided at Notre Dame Long Care in Worcester.
Sister died at Notre Dame, Worcester, or "the Lake" as the Sisters call it, on Oct. 6, 2022. She was 96 years old. Her funeral Mass was celebrated at Notre Dame du Lac Chapel, Worcester, on Oct. 13. Sister Theresa was buried with her family in the Cunningham Family Lot at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.