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Sister Mary Alter, RSHM

by RSHM Eastern American AreaCategory: Obituaries7 Comments

Sister Mary Alter (Sister Peter Anthony), RSHM, died peacefully at Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, New York, on Monday, January 22, 2024. She was 88 years of age and had been a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary for 65 years.

She was born Mary Alter in Brooklyn, NY, on May 14, 1935, to Louis W. Alter and Catherine McCormack.

She attended Marymount High School, Tarrytown, NY; Marymount Junior College, Arlington, VA; and received a BA in Art from Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY.

She entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary at the RSHM Novitiate in Tarrytown, on September 8, 1956. She made her first vows on June 15, 1958, in Tarrytown, where she also made her final vows on August 25, 1958.

Sister Mary’s first ministry in elementary school education began at St. Anne’s, Garden City, NY. She taught at St. Mary’s School, Long Island City, NY, for a short time before being assigned to Marymount School in Barcelona, Spain, and St. Thomas Aquinas, Bronx, NY.

A major part of Sister Mary’s ministry centered around various forms of art.

While she was studying art at Marymount College, she was a House Director and ran a small shop in the Art Department where art students could buy supplies. She began teaching pottery, crafts, and weaving to adults and in programs for persons with developmental disabilities.

She was a recreational therapist at Howe Avenue Nursing Home and the New Rochelle Nursing Home, both in New Rochelle, NY, and at Andrus On Hudson in Hastings-On-Hudson. She worked at the retirement homes of the Ursuline Sisters in New Rochelle and the Dominican Sisters of Hope in Newburgh, NY, and with the RSHM at Marymount Convent in Tarrytown.

Sister Mary served on the staff at Cormaria Retreat House, Sag Harbor, NY.  In addition to her main responsibility for building and grounds, she gave classes in weaving and ran the gift shop. Cormaria provided her many opportunities to pursue her interest in photography, a gift she shared with many.

Sister Mary was associated with the Craftskeller at Marymount College and the RSHM Weaving Center in Tarrytown. She spent many years in these fiber arts centers, weaving and helping others to learn and enjoy the art of weaving.

For much of her religious life, Sister Mary lived in Tarrytown and ministered in Westchester and Orange Counties. She was a member of the Marymount Convent Community at the time of her death.  Sister Mary is preceded in death by her parents and brother Francis, niece Betty Anne and nephew Bill, Jr. She is survived by her brother William and her sister Sister Alice Alter, RSHM, her nieces Margaret, Marialice, Eileen, Judy, Diane, Cathy, Mary Lou, Maureen and nephews Thomas, Mark, Michael, Johnny and Peter, and by the members of her religious family.                 

Visiting is Monday, January 29, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm, followed by a Vigil Service at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Marymount Convent, 32 Warren Avenue, Tarrytown, NY, on Tuesday, January 30, at 10:30 am. Burial is at Mount Calvary Cemetery, White Plains, NY.

We invite you to join us for the Mass at Marymount Convent or by live-stream on our website, where it will be archived.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her name may be made to Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, 50 Wilson Park Drive, Tarrytown, NY, 10591.

7 thoughts on “Sister Mary Alter, RSHM”

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    Sr. Mary Alter was always helpful to the art students. I recall she had a great sense of humor. God speed, Sister.
    Karen Massey Berwick ‘76

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    Sister Mary was a friend of mine. She was a very kind , and loving human being. Iam sad to hear she is no longer on this earth, but rejoice knowing she is with Christ in heaven.

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    Sister Mary Alter always showed kindness with a big smile. She will be missed on earth but welcomed by those who have gone before her.

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    I knew Sister Mary when we were young nuns together in Tarrytown. She was always gentle and kind with a wonderful sense of humor. In the ensuing years, when I met Sister I was always greeted with her inimitable and forever smile. Rest in peace Sister Mary.

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    Sister Mary Alter was a dear friend. We worked together for years at Andrus Retirement Community in Westchester when I lived in New York. We both worked in Activities. She gave classes to the residents in Pottery and I have some of her pottery. I will miss her dearly. We went for regular walks on the grounds during our lunch hour. We shared many wonderful memories and she made me laugh. She also had her camera with her and took pictures of the grounds. My heart hurts of this news. I just knew, something told me to try to contact her. God has a special place for her.

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