She is still busy inspiring others and devoting her life to God.
It’s always wonderful to celebrate a life well-lived, and recently we’ve been doing a lot of it! From the French world record-breaking Sr. Andre, who became the oldest living person in the world, to an elderly priest who still celebrates Mass, there’s something impressive about individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to God.
Now we have another senior who reached the grand old age of 109 in April, making her the second oldest religious sister in the United States — Sr. Francis Dominici Piscatella. (Another Dominican sister from Kentucky, Sr. Vincent de Paul Hutton, is a couple of years older at 111.)
Sr. Francis Dominici’s life didn’t get off to the easiest start. She was born in Central Islip, New York, and was one of seven children. At just two years old she had to have her left forearm amputated. and later in life had to contend with recovering from a shattered right arm after a car accident.
As a young woman she was determined to become a religious sister, but many orders refused her request due to her disability. Undeterred, she eventually joined the Dominicans at the age of 18, which means she has spent over 90 years in religious life under seven popes! Incredible!
With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education under her belt — or should we say the belt of her habit — she went to Brooklyn to teach math to first graders. From there she continued teaching for 52 years at Molloy College in New York, and went on to work in their financial aid office before her retirement at 84.
In the last couple of years, Sister has had very calm birthday celebrations due to the pandemic, waving to friends and family from her home in East Williston, according to The Island 360.
So this year’s celebrations on April 20 were especially festive, as she was able to mark the occasion with family members:
“It’s nice to have a birthday, especially when you’re 109. I can’t believe it. I’m still here. I’ve enjoyed my life and I’m very grateful for the life I’ve had. I’m grateful all these people wanted to come see this old lady.”
This feeling of gratitude is something that seems to embody the centenarian. Even during the pandemic she didn’t get bored and let the restrictions prevent her from doing what is important to her. She embraced going to virtual Masses and spent a lot of time in prayer.
She currently lives with fellow Dominican Sr. Francis Daniel Kammer, who, being much younger at 81, drives Sr. Francis Dominici to all her appointments and accompanies her to Mass every day. Incredibly, the elderly sister still gets around without use of a cane.
It is fitting that the two sisters are housemates, considering that Sr. Francis Daniel was Sr. Francis Dominici’s former student. Once she finished college, Sr. Francis Daniel asked her teacher to sponsor her when she wished to join the order. She then went on to follow a similar teaching path as the woman who inspired her.
When pondering why she’s not been called home to Heaven yet, especially considering she survived a bleed on the brain at 102 and has had a hip replacement, Sr. Francis Dominici simply says: “I guess God doesn’t want me yet,” as shared by Catholic News. “He just wants me to hang around.”
It does seem that God still has plans for this elderly sister. And perhaps one reason is for her to inspire others by her amazing attitude and devotion to her faith.