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Born on May 25, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY to Joseph and Lottie Grabowski, Josephine, as she was baptized, was the first of three children. Growing up in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, Josephine along with her younger sister, Jane, and younger brother, Edward, enjoyed playing with their friends in the beautiful parks near their home.
She attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Brooklyn where she was inspired by the good example and kindness of the sisters, often spending time after school helping them. At home, she was the little teacher to her siblings, sharing everything she learned at school.
After graduation from St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Josephine and a few of her friends decided to attend high school at the new Nazareth Academy in Philadelphia with the plan to use their high school years to discern if they had a vocation to religious life. The young girls traveled by train to Philadelphia and were among the first class of students to be educated at the newly constructed Nazareth Academy High School.
On May 11, 1928, Josephine became a postulant. Two years later, she entered the novitiate, receiving the name Sr. Mary Germaine. She pronounced her temporary vows on September 1, 1932 and perpetual vows on August 15, 1938.
With a degree from Villanova University, Sr. Germaine served in education ministry in Baltimore, MD; Wading River, NY; Worcester, MA; Plantation, FL; McAdoo, PA; and Trooper, PA. She taught countless number children to read, to write, and to become good citizens as well as good people. She especially loved preparing children to receive their first Holy Communion. During the summers she volunteered to teach catechism to children in upstate Pennsylvania.
At the age of 97, after 34 years in Trooper, PA where she had taught and performed unseen but essential tasks in the convent and in the school, Sr. Germaine made the decision to retire to Mount Nazareth in Philadelphia. Occasionally, she was invited back to Trooper for weekends, and sisters, friends, and former students often visited and wrote to her.
At Mount Nazareth, Sr. Germaine spent her time visiting the sisters in the infirmary and keeping current with her correspondence. Anyone searching for her would most often find her praying in the chapel. After several months in retirement, Sr. Germaine needed medical attention in a hospital for the first time in 97 years. She remained in relatively good health for a number of years after that. Her mind was alert, and she continued to pray and read. When she could no longer write her own cards and letters, she depended on a sister to continue her correspondence with her friends.
In July, it became apparent that Sr. Germaine was becoming very weak. On July 31, 2019, in the 91st year of her religious life, she peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. Her Mass of Resurrection was August 4 at Jesus of Nazareth Convent (Mount Nazareth) in Philadelphia.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Sr. Germaine, click HERE.