BRIDGEPORT—On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1933, Lorraine Agnes was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Clifford Stephen, a native of Chicago, and Theresa Butkus Quinn of Fairfield, Connecticut. Her big brother, three years old, “loved to steal into her room and try to hold her.” Sadly, that September he died of appendicitis. Five years later, another brother, Clifford John, arrived. He was the brother she had begged her mother for, because “all her playmates had baby brothers.” Big sister Lorraine was baptized at Assumption Church, in Fairfield. Later, First Communion and Confirmation were celebrated at Holy Family Church, also in Fairfield.
After starting in public schools, Lorraine and Cliff were registered at St. Ann School in Fairfield, in the sixth and second grades, with the Sisters of Charity. “From the first day of school with the Sisters, I knew that that is what I wanted to be,” she later wrote. For high school, Lorraine first enrolled at St. John Commercial, a two-year school conducted by SSNDs in Bridgeport offering both an academic and business curriculum.
There she learned about the SSND Aspiranture in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the Academy of the Holy Angels. Quite excited by the reports she heard, Lorraine asked her mother’s permission to go there, but “she was very unresponsive and said no. She did not want me to leave home for school, but after a talk with one of the Sisters she gave her consent.” Her father died very suddenly during the summer of 1949, the time of her graduation from St. John’s. “But this did not change my mother’s decision,” Lorraine wrote. She graduated from the Aspiranture in 1951 and entered the Candidature in Baltimore the following August.
During her two years as a Candidate, Lorraine taught primary grades in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Taneytown, Md. From this last experience, she wrote, “from the example of my Superior, I began to realize the meaning of being a Sister and determined to imitate her as far as I was able.” At Reception in 1953, she received David Marie as her religious name. After first profession in 1954, she taught at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Baltimore for three years and then volunteered for Puerto Rico in 1957. This began eight happy years as teacher and principal at the grade school of the Academia del Perpetuo Socorro in Miramar, and four years as a teacher in Fajardo, and at Santiago Apostol and Notre Dame High School in Caguas.
Of her Miramar years, David wrote, “From the Sisters in Miramar I received such wonderful inspiration and example in both the religious life and professionally. I owe my deepest gratitude to these Sisters who were the instruments of the Divine Teacher. It was a perfect time for preparing to take perpetual vows.”
Returning to the States in 1970, Lorraine served as vice principal at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Conn. for two years, before becoming a teacher at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, N.J.
After receiving her bachelor of arts in English from the College of the Sacred Heart in Santurce, P.R., Lorraine earned two Master’s of Arts degrees—in administration from Fairfield University in 1971, and in Religious Education from Fordham University in 1976. In 1973, she began a new ministry as director of Religious Education at Immaculate Conception Parish in Norwood, N.J. for seven years. During this time she made community with SSNDs in Closter, N.J., before the council asked her to become administrator at the newly-licensed Lourdes Health Care Center in Wilton.
As director of Religious Education, Lorraine later served at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Weston, and Sacred Heart in Georgetown, Conn; as pastoral minister she was responsible for the RCIA program at Resurrection Parish in Rye, N.Y.; and for parish outreach and community building at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Bridgeport, Conn. From 2008 to 2021, Lorraine served as receptionist, registrar and life skills coordinator at Caroline House, a sponsored ministry of the Atlantic-Midwest Province offering ESL and other life skills to immigrant women from several countries.
Lorraine also offered spiritual talks, retreats and other prayer experiences to varied adult and youth groups during these years. Her extremely generous spirit, love for the needy and spiritually hunger and her manifold talents can be deduced easily from the breadth of her ministries. She was also an avid golfer until this past spring.
Only in late 2020 did Lorraine retire to VND. In July 2021, she needed care at Ozanam Hall in Bayside, N.Y. and moved into community with our Sisters there.
Lorraine died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, on August 11, 2021. Her funeral was celebrated at St. Margaret’s Shrine in Bridgeport, her parish church, on August 14. It was arranged by Sister Daniella O’Sullivan, a former community member, and attended by sisters from Villa Notre Dame and colleagues and friends from the Bridgeport area. Burial followed immediately at St. Mary Cemetery in Bethel, Conn.
By Sister Kay O’Connell