On the evening of March 11, 2019, after attending the celebration of the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts with her community, Sister Martha Elizabeth Moyta, OSBM a member of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, USA left her earthly life and went into the loving embrace of Our Lord.
Sister Martha was in the 90th year of her life, having served God in the Basilian community for 74 years. Sister Martha lived at the Motherhouse in Uniontown. Her funeral will be celebrated on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Kindly remember the soul of Sister Martha Elizabeth, OSBM in your prayers. May she rest in the peace of Our Lord.
“God grant her Eternal Memory!”
Swiftly and unexpectedly, Sister Martha Elizabeth Moyta (formerly Sister Jerome) was taken to her heavenly home in the early evening of Monday, March 11, 2019. She had just attended the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, but did not show up for supper. Someone went to check on her, and it was evident that the Lord called her to Himself. How blessed for her to appear at the heavenly gates fortified by the Eucharist and the Holy Anointing!
Sister Martha was born in Pittsburgh, PA, the only daughter of the late John and Elizabeth (Tirpak) Moyta. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown on August 1, 1945 from Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church on Pittsburgh’s Northside. Sister Martha made her Final Profession of Vows on August 28, 1953 in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.
With her 26 years of teaching experience, she became a member of the organizing team for the Religious Education Office in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy. In this capacity, Sister Martha was a contributor to the God With Us Series for the Eastern Christian Formation program. Both working on the Series and giving workshops were part of Sister Martha’s expertise. After serving in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy, Sister Martha then took these same talents to the Eparchy of Parma where she served for six years before moving into Pastoral Ministry at St. Therese Church in St. Petersburg, FL. Following 17 years of ministry there, Sister Martha returned to the monastery where she was fondly referred to as “Mother Martha.”
Even though her years of active ministry ended, Sister Martha was always ready to help in any way she could, and in this, she was a true Martha. Visitors to the Gift Shop where she helped part time could be sure of a warm welcome from her. Probably her best-loved ministry was to prepare and coordinate lodging on the grounds for the Annual Pilgrimage. For her this was a labor of love and a way to honor Our Mother of Perpetual Help by graciously welcoming the pilgrims.
Adding a touch of beauty to the simple accommodations was her hallmark, both there and in the monastery. In hearing about her passing, one of the Sisters noted, “heaven will now be decorated, cleaned and rearranged.”
In addition to all the ministries that were part of her religious life, Sister Martha added her own special ministry of keeping in touch. She was always thinking of others during her life, and the presence of so many relatives and friends at her funeral gave witness to this fact.
In his homily, Archbishop William referred to the Gospel about the raising of Lazarus, which Sister Martha requested be read at her funeral. One of the most powerful stories in the New Testament, and focusing first on Martha and Mary, it was evident why this was her choice. As noted in the Gospel, Martha was often busy about many things. However, in the end, she left her “busyness” and led Jesus to her brother’s grave, where she learned first-hand the truth of Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the Resurrection and the Life . . . .” As we celebrate Sister Martha’s life, we know that she, too, has left her “busyness” and now enjoys first-hand the truth of the Resurrection.
Sister Martha Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Nicholas, John, Edward and Daniel. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her devoted nieces and nephews and their families. Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich celebrated the Parastas Service on Friday, March 15. Concelebrants were Rev. Jerome Botsko, Monastery Chaplain; Archpriest John S. Kachuba, and Rev. Robert Karl. In attendance were Archpriest John G. Petro and Very Rev. Ronald P. Larko. Archbishop William C. Skurla celebrated the Funeral Divine Liturgy on Saturday, March 16. Concelebrants were Rev. Jerome Botsko, Monastery Chaplain; Archpriest John S. Kachuba, and Rev. Robert Karl; Very Rev. Ronald Larko served as Master of Ceremonies. In attendance were Archpriest John G. Petro, Very Rev. Robert Pipta, and Rev. Stephen J. Wahal.
We commend our dear Sister to your holy prayers.
May God grant to his handmaiden, Sister Martha Elizabeth, eternal memory and peaceful repose.