(OSV News) – A community of women religious in Pennsylvania is mourning the tragic death of one of its sisters who was traveling within the state to promote vocations.
Sister Augustine Marie (Georganne) Molnar, 43, was killed Nov. 18 in a head-on automobile accident on Route 183 in Jefferson Township, according to the Berks County, Pennsylvania, coroner.
“With broken hearts, we must share the terrible news that our dear Sister Augustine Marie Molnar went unexpectedly into eternal life” on Nov. 18, wrote Sister Mary Joseph Calore, mother provincial of the American Province of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, on X (formerly Twitter).
The accident occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m., with Sister Augustine Marie pronounced dead at 11:02 a.m. by deputy coroner Terri Straka. No autopsy is planned as the cause was determined to be accidental.
The two passengers in the other vehicle sustained only minor injuries, and Sister Augustine Marie was traveling alone, Sister Mary Joseph told OSV News, adding that “how Sister went off the road is unclear.”
“We’re not certain if she fell asleep at the wheel (or) if she had a medical incident,” she said.
In an additional message posted Nov. 19 to X, Sister Mary Joseph admitted she has “been in a fog since the Pennsylvania State Troopers came to the door yesterday and said, ‘We regret to inform you that Sister Molnar is no longer with us.'”
“How can such a light go out so quickly?” asked Sister Mary Joseph. “And yet, she loved the Lord so much, that light has been caught up in a greater Light, a stronger Love.”
She told OSV News that Sister Augustine Marie had been en route to a reunion for attendees of the Diocese of Allentown’s annual “Fiat Days,” which assist young women in discerning religious vocations.
“She was going to be able to share her vocation story at that event,” said Sister Mary Joseph. “She was looking forward to it for months. … But Sister never arrived at her destination. She had another destination.”
According to the congregation’s website, Sister Augustine Marie entered the order Sept. 8, 2013, and made her first profession March 19, 2017, at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cresson, Pennsylvania. Since Aug. 1, she belonged to the local community of St. Maximilian Kolbe at the province house there, serving at All Saints Catholic School and at the sisters’ personal care home, John Paul II Manor.
Sister Mary Joseph told OSV News residents of the personal care home were grief-stricken upon learning that Sister Augustine Marie, who provided physical therapy and assisted with dispensing medications at the home, had died suddenly.
When not working at the home, Sister Augustine Marie was a devoted Catholic educator who was committed to ensuring her students received “substance” in the theology classes she taught, said Sister Mary Joseph.
She added that it seemed “God was preparing his encounter” with Sister Augustine Marie, who had “just come (from) an amazing retreat.”
“Sister Augustine Marie is loved by her religious Sisters, her family and friends who mourn her sudden and untimely passing,” said the order on its website. “May Sister Augustine Marie, and all our beloved departed, rest in peace.”
The funeral Mass will be celebrated Nov. 27.
The Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus were founded in Krakow, Poland, in 1894 by St. Joseph Sebastian Pelczar, a Polish bishop and theologian, and Blessed Klara Szczesna
The congregation serves in Poland, Ukraine, Italy, France, Bolivia, Argentina, Jamaica and the United States. Its U.S. province focuses on teaching and catechesis, nursing and personal care, parish ministry, kitchen and clothing outreach to the poor, evangelization of homes and families, social media outreach, prison ministry and missionary work in Jamaica. The province is present in the dioceses of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; Columbus, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Mandeville, Jamaica.
Donations are being accepted in loving memory of Sister Augustine Marie Molnar at John Paul II Manor, 856 Cambria St., Cresson PA 16630, where she worked. Visit johnpaul2manor.org to learn more.