November 17, 1931 – August 10, 2023
Sister Mary Thomas, 91, a Felician Sister for 73 years, died in Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, Buffalo, NY, on August 10, 2023. The former Delphine Frys was born on November 17, 1931, in Buffalo, NY, to Florence (Lesinska) and Bernard Frys and was a member of St. John Kanty Parish, Buffalo, NY, and later, Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, Cheektowaga, NY. Sister Thomas entered the Buffalo Province of the Felician Sisters on July 16, 1950, and professed perpetual vows on August 14, 1958. After graduating from Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy, Buffalo, NY, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Daemen (Rosary Hill) College and a Master of Science in Education degree at Medaille (Mount St. Joseph) College, Buffalo, NY.
Sister Mary Thomas began her teaching ministry as a Felician Sister at St. Stanislaus School, Buffalo, NY. She was a primary grade teacher in various Catholic elementary schools in the Dioceses of Buffalo and Syracuse for nine years, before beginning a twenty-two-year ministry in education in Ontario, Canada. After teaching at the elementary level for five years and earning a Canadian Elementary School Principal’s Certificate, Sister Thomas served as principal of St. Joseph School, Stevensville, for seven years and at St. Michael School, Dunville, for nine years. While at St. Michael School, Sister Thomas also directed the parish choir for eight years. She finished her ministry in Canada at St. Christopher School, Hamilton, as a fifth-grade teacher.
Returning to the United States in 1983, Sister Thomas taught the fifth grade at Ascension School in North Tonawanda, NY, for two years before resuming the role of principal at St. Bernard School, Buffalo, NY, and Queen of Martyrs and St. Josaphat Schools, Cheektowaga, NY.
True to the Felician mission “to cooperate with Christ in the spiritual renewal of the world,” Sister Thomas was deeply involved in parish life wherever she ministered, coordinating sacramental programs, visiting the sick, serving as Eucharistic Minister, and at times, directing the parish choir and leading congregational singing.
Completing her active role in education in 1999, Sister Thomas immediately applied her superb administrative skills to assisting in the internal offices of the provincial administration and Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent. She was always a ready volunteer whatever the need. Reflecting on her sixtieth anniversary of religious life, Sister Thomas acknowledged that the greatest gift she received was “that God called me to serve him and that he sustained me during these sixty years.” Sister Thomas embraced this treasured call faithfully and lovingly throughout her life.
One of Sister Thomas’ most cherished volunteer ministries was that of visiting the residents of Elderwood at Cheektowaga, NY, and serving as Eucharistic Minister at the facility. Her twenty-year ministry at Elderwood began when her mother, Florence Frys, became a member of the Elderwood community in 1997. Sister Thomas faithfully attended to her mother and brought her the Eucharist every week. At the invitation of the Elderwood staff, Sister began to bring Holy Communion to the other Catholic residents at the facility. Although her mother passed away in 2002, Sister Thomas continued ministering at the facility until she herself could no longer make the visits on her own.
Sister Thomas radiated her joy in the Lord throughout her life and remained cheerful and pleasant until she passed quietly, entering her eternal reward. There was never a doubt where her true treasure lay.
Sister Thomas is survived by her sister Bernadette (John) Modrzynski, her brother James Frys, her cousin SM Nicolette Wichrowski, CSSF, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her sister Florence Bukowski, her brother Thomas Frys, her cousin SM Liliose Frys, CSSF, and great aunt SM Paschasia Mocny, CSSF. She was buried in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, in Cheektowaga, New York.