Sister Gertrude Mary Kerin never hesitated when called upon for prayer, except once in 2008 when a coworker and longtime friend made an unusual request.
John Colman, head of Gloucester Catholic High School, wanted her to pray for the Phillies to win the World Series. Sister Gertrude Mary reluctantly agreed.
The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, in Game 5.
"She was the one who turned the corner for the Phillies," Colman said Monday, recalling a woman who dedicated her life to serving God and caring for children.
Sister Gertrude Mary, 99, died quietly in her sleep on Saturday, Dec. 7, at St. Mary's Nursing Home in Cherry Hill, where she lived after working from 1967 to 2009 at Gloucester Catholic.
"One word that was not part of her vocabulary was retirement," Colman said. "She spent her life dedicated to the students of Gloucester Catholic."
Sister Gertrude Mary retired at age 94.
Even at the nursing home, she tutored a worker after learning that she was a student who needed help in chemistry, her friends recalled.
"What I loved about her was she was a very prayerful woman," said a close friend, Sister Christine Hartnett. "She treated everyone just as she would want to be treated, and she loved the children."
Sister Gertrude Mary OP, of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, was born in Chicago and raised in Scarsdale, N.Y. She was the daughter of Thomas F. and Gertrude Murnane Kerin.
She entered the novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh in 1935, made her First Profession in 1937, and Final Profession in 1943.
She earned her bachelor's degree in home economics from the College of St. Elizabeth, her master's in education from Fordham University, and her master's in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame.
Sister Gertrude Mary began her ministry in secondary education at Mount St. Mary Academy in Newburgh, N.Y., in 1935, where she taught chemistry and biology.
Kathy Coghlan, a friend and Gloucester Catholic's assistant director of advancement, said Sister Gertrude Mary came from a wealthy family, yet lived a humble life helping others.
"She brought out the best in everyone," Coghlan said. "She was very thoughtful, and you could always count on her prayers."
In 2005, for the 75th anniversary of Gloucester Catholic, Sister Gertrude Mary received a proclamation signed by Gov. Richard Codey.
She is survived by a brother, Msgr. Joseph A. Kerin. She was preceded in death by siblings Evelyn J. Kerin, Thomas Kerin Jr., Sister Thomas Mary OP, Marian Kerin, Theresa Kerin, Lorraine Hoyt, and James Kerin.
Visitation and wake will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 426 Monmouth St., Gloucester City. A Funeral Mass will follow. Burial will be at noon Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Dominican Sisters' Cemetery on the grounds of Mount St. Mary College, Newburgh.
Donations in Sister Gertrude Mary's name may be sent to the Development Office, 299 N. Highland Ave., Building 5, Ossining NY 10562-2327.