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Sister Mary Marcia Chmielewski, teacher, principal; April 20, 1928 -- April 22, 2011

Sister Mary Marcia Chmielewski, a Felician sister for 64 years, died on Good Friday in the Blessed Mary Angela Care Center, Buffalo, after complications from a stroke. She was 83.

Born in Syracuse, the former Ann Chmielewski was a member of Transfiguration Parish there. Sister Mary Marcia entered the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province of the Felician Sisters in Buffalo at age 18 and professed perpetual vows at 26.

She graduated from Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy (Villa Maria) and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College, now known as Medaille College.

Sister Marcia initially began her ministry as a child care aide at St. Rita's Home for Children in Getzville. She became a primary grade teacher at several Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo. After 10 years, she was summoned to Canada, where she taught at St. John Fisher School in St. Catharines, Ont., and Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Hamilton, Ont.

Upon her return to the United States in 1968, Sister Marcia began teaching in the Diocese of Syracuse at Sacred Heart School. She continued to teach in Syracuse and in Buffalo, serving as principal in many schools, including Transfiguration and Sacred Heart in Syracuse, Transfiguration in Rome, St. Mary in New York Mills, Queen of Peace in Buffalo and St. Josaphat and Queen of Martyrs in Cheektowaga. She was known as a competent administrator, and looked upon her role as principal as a mission of love, to help children grow and succeed.

In August 1997, Sister Marcia began serving the sisters at St. Francis Residence Convent in Buffalo. She returned to St. Mary Parish in New York Mills in 2004 to assist in the parish ministry.

After her stroke in December 2010, she became a patient at the Blessed Mary Angela Care Center in Buffalo. A generous and active person, Sister Marcia constantly gave of herself without counting the cost, said Sister Mary Angelette Helak.

"I think she prayed that she would die on Good Friday," Sister Angelette said. "I think it's just that she wanted to be united with Christ."

Sister Marcia is survived by a brother, Stanley Marlowe, and a sister, Loretta Barnios.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Convent Chapel Immaculate Heart of Mary (Villa Maria) Convent, 600 Doat St., Cheektowaga.