September 13, 1931 – March 25, 2023
Sister Mary John Lawicki, 91, a Felician Sister for 72 years, passed away in Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, Cheektowaga, NY, on Saturday, March 25, 2023. The former Irene Lawicki was born on September 13, 1931, in Buffalo, NY, to Marie (Szymanski) and Leon Lawicki, and was a member of St. Stanislaus Parish. Sister John entered the Buffalo Province of the Felician Sisters on February 2, 1951, and professed her final vows on August 14, 1958. After graduating from Girls Vocational High School, Sister John earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Medaille College and a Master of Science in Education degree from State University of New York at Buffalo.
Sister Mary John began her ministry as a Felician Sister at St. Rita Home for Children, Getzville, NY, a ministry that she fully embraced as she lovingly cared for God’s most vulnerable children. For over thirty years, Sister John served the Diocese of Buffalo in the field of education, first as an elementary teacher and then as principal of St. John Gualbert and Our Lady of Czestochowa Schools, Cheektowaga, NY; Queen of Peace, Buffalo, NY; Genesee-Wyoming Catholic Central, Attica, NY; and Holy Trinity School, Dunkirk, NY.
Completing her ministry in education in 1989, Sister John became engaged in parish ministry serving at Holy Trinity, Dunkirk, NY; Precious Blood, Buffalo, NY; and St. Barbara, Lackawanna, NY. While ministering at Precious Blood and St. Barbara Parishes, she also served as sacristan at St. Joseph Cathedral for fifteen years. Following in the footsteps of Blessed Mary Angela, foundress of the Felician Sisters, Sister John cherished her privilege of caring for the altar at St. Joseph Cathedral. A talented seamstress, Sister John also created beautiful priestly vestments.
A serious health challenge ended Sister John’s active parish ministry in 2006. After an extended period of recovery, she returned to parish life. Always a master chef and baker, her excellent cooking and baking skills came to the fore as she served as home aide at Queen of Angels (St. Michael) Convent. The closing of Queen of Angels Convent in 2017 brought her home to Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent.
With her many talents, strong mind and spirit, and total availability to the Felician mission of cooperating with Christ in the spiritual renewal of the world, Sister John remained simple with her feet firmly planted on the ground and her heart unreservedly in the hands of God. Intuitive and practical, she used every one of her varied gifts to the fullest, marking everything she did with meticulous care.
There was never a doubt that Sister John was happy in her vocation. Active in community life, she served as local minister for twelve years and fully participated in community activities. On her sixtieth anniversary of religious life, Sister John wrote, “I feel very humbled that God has chosen me…I am extremely proud to be a part of this wonderful, God-centered community.” Jesus ever remained the center of her life. What a blessed gift that while at Mass shortly after receiving Holy Communion, Sister John passed quietly and peacefully into the arms of her beloved Spouse and Lord. A Mass of Christian Burial took place in the convent chapel. Sister John was buried in St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Cheektowaga.