On the evening of November 28, 2018 Sister Gertrude Martin, OSBM, a member of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Uniontown, PA, USA was called home to the Lord. Sister Gertrude was 96 years old and had served Our Lord in the monastic life for 75 years of her life.
Kindly remember Sister Gertrude in your prayers. May she find restful repose in the loving arms of Our Lord.
“God grant her Eternal Memory!”
Very peacefully, as she had always wanted, +Sister Gertrude moved from the earthly realm to the heavenly in the early evening of Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Sister had been a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor, and it was from there that she was surely welcomed by the Lord she served with fidelity and enthusiasm for 75 years.
Sister Gertrude (Irene) Martin was born in Homestead, PA, the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ann (Kopas) Martin, the middle child of thirteen siblings. She entered the community from St. John the Baptist Cathedral Parish in Homestead on October 3, 1943. Sister Gertrude made her Final Profession of Vows on August 19, 1951 in the presence of the late Rev. Msgr. John S. Kocisko.
Her teaching apostolate spanned 33 years, twelve of which she also served as principal. Still in the teaching apostolate, she additionally served as a member of the Provincial Council for five years. For another six years, Sister Gertrude ably administered St. Basil’s Home for Women. A brief return to teaching took her to Trenton, NJ before she returned to the monastery, Sister’s energetic nature and varied talents then led her to be assigned as the manager of the Religious Gift Shop. At the Gift Shop, she was a familiar face for over ten years, tending to all aspects of this special ministry of the Sisters. It was a ministry from which it was hard for her to take leave, since she especially enjoyed being there.
In 2005, Sister retired from active ministry, but she busied herself at the monastery with various projects, since she was not one to sit still and watch the world go by. At the monastery, she will be especially remembered for directing the Christmas decorating throughout the house. Even now, as soon as that season rolls around, her name is invariably mentioned.
Each year, the National Religious Retirement Office publishes a poster to become the basis of their campaign materials. They select Priests and Sisters whose faces are a reminder of the more than 35,000 religious past the age of 70 years living in the United States. For the 2009 poster, Sister Gertrude was one of our three Sisters to be chosen. One could not help but be attracted by those deep set blue eyes and infectious smile, the face of a happy Sister.
Father Andrew Deskevich, in his inspiring homily, noted that when we say before God that we are thankful to have known and loved someone like Sister Gertrude, we are in fact thanking God for revealing something of Himself yet again in human form.
As Father stated further, “It was only in Jesus Christ that we saw the glory and goodness of God fully shining in a human face. And yet it is also true that in the goodness of every human being, there is another, if different revelation of God, incomplete, flawed, but nevertheless a mirror of His love.” This mirror of His love, we glimpsed in the life of Sister Gertrude.
Sister Gertrude herself wanted to remembered as a very grateful Sister of St. Basil. As we thank God for her life which has reached its earthly fulfillment, we pray that she may now hear the words: “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.”
Sister Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, and eleven of her siblings; her brothers Nicholas, John, Edward, Raymond, Donald, Elmer and Clifford; and her sisters Ann Kasko, Pauline Pushcar, Mary Baka, and Eleanor Stellute. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her brother George Martin, her sister Verna Savko, and many devoted nieces and nephews and their families.
The Parastas Service was concelebrated on Monday, December 3 by the Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich, her pastor, and Rev. Jerome Botsko, Monastery Chaplain. The Very Rev. Ronald Larko was in attendance. The Funeral Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Tuesday, December 4 by the Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich, her pastor, with Rev. Jerome Botsko, Monastery Chaplain as concelebrant. In attendance were Very Rev. Archpriest John Petro, Very Rev. Ronald Larko, Rev. James Spontak, Rev. Stephen Wahal, and Rev. Christopher Burke.
May God grant to his handmaiden, Sister Gertrude, eternal memory and peaceful repose.