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Sister Phyllis Marie Zaworski, 77, teacher, missionary, social worker

Jan. 11, 1941 – March 4, 2018

Sister Phyllis Marie Zaworski, a teacher, missionary and social worker, died Sunday under hospice care in Mercy Center after a lengthy illness. She was 77.

Born in Buffalo, she attended St. Agatha’s School and Our Lady of Victory High School in Lackawanna. She joined the Religious Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 15, 1958.

While earning a bachelor’s degree in education from Medaille College, she taught at Holy Family and St. Thomas Aquinas schools in Buffalo, St. James School in Jamestown and Immaculate Conception School in Wellsville.

In 1968, she went to the Philippines, where she taught in Kolambugan and served as a school principal in Jiminez. She began courses in Manila to become a hospital chaplain, then returned to the U.S. to complete her studies at Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Boston, Mass., becoming a certified chaplain.

She went on to earn a master’s degree in psychotherapy and a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University in Chicago, where she earned the college’s highest honor, the Alpha Sigma Nu Award for excellence in scholarship and service. An accomplished violinist, she also was asked to join the university’s orchestra.

She then became a social worker in Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Buffalo until 2008, when she was asked to work with Mercy Communities in New York, Pennsylvania and the Philippines as a vocation minister. Beginning in 2014, she served as a volunteer at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She enjoyed quilting, weaving and making crafts and cards.

Survivors include a sister, Gloria Ricotta, nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Wednesday in the chapel at Mercy Center, 625 Abbott Road.

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