Mary Francis Becker, SSJ, 78, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on August, 20, 2019 in the 61st year of her religious life. She was born Barbara Ann Becker in Erie, Pennsylvania, on October 30, 1940, the daughter of the late Francis S. and Dorothy (McGraw) Becker. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Luke Parish in Erie, PA, on August 27, 1959 and professed her final vows on August 15, 1967. She commemorated the 60th anniversary of her religious life during a beautiful liturgy and celebration a few weeks ago on August 3.
Sister Mary Francis Becker, SSJ, said the call to religious life was always present. “I kept denying it was there, but God does not relent,” she says. Her parents were the first and most impressive examples of faith in action in her life. Growing up, she had planned a life in a big city as an artist or dress designer and not wanting anything to do with the convent. But while in college, nothing seemed to be going right and though she couldn’t understand why, she figured she would give it a try. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from her home parish of St. Luke’s and she has never regretted listening to the voice of God.
Sister Mary Francis attended St. Peter Cathedral School and Villa Maria Academy. She earned a degree in elementary education at Villa Maria College, studied art at Mercyhurst University and earned a master's degree in art from the University of Notre Dame. Sister Mary Francis taught at St. Andrews, St. Peter Cathedral and St. John’s Schools in Erie, and served as principal at Villa Maria Elementary. She also taught at Villa Maria College and ministered at Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie. She was self-employed as a decorating consultant, artist and painting instructor during which time she did projects for clients in Erie, Buffalo and Washington, DC. Up until her death, she continued to paint and offer private art lessons.
She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, William and Dell Becker; her nephew, Jeffrey; her niece, Stephanie; and her niece’s dear friend, Michael Krepps, all of Erie; and numerous cousins. She is also survived by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Friends may call at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, on Thursday from 2:00 p.m.to 7:00 p.m., when a prayer service will be held. Calling hours continue on Friday from 1:00 until 3:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 4:00 p.m. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA, 16506-1249. The Quinn Funeral Home, West 9th & Liberty St., is handling arrangements.