Sister Marie Angela Natoli, 87, former general superior of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died Friday, Nov. 13, of cardiac arrest at Camilla Hall Nursing Home in Immaculata.
Sister Marie Angela was born in Reading, the daughter of Thomas J. and Mariana Stella Natoli.
She attended school there before earning a bachelor's degree in history and English from what was then Immaculata College. She earned a master's degree in religious studies from Villanova University in 1973.
Sister Marie Angela entered the convent in 1948, professing her final vows in 1954.
Most of her career was spent teaching, first in elementary school, and later as teacher of English, history, and theology in high schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Allentown.
In 1962, Sister Marie Angela was awarded the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Teacher Award. She also received an honorary doctoral degree from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2000.
She served as the director of the Immaculate Heart of Mary novitiate in Santiago, Chile, and helped found a branch of Villa Maria Junior College in Lima, Peru.
"The Latin American missions remained close to her heart throughout her life," her religious colleagues said in a statement. "It just was a passion with her."
From 1988 to 1994, Sister Marie Angela was the assistant to Mother Marie Genevieve Lawler, then general superior of IHM. In 1994, Sister Marie Angela was elected to a six-year term as general superior, the religious order's top post.
During her tenure, she served on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Advisory Committee for Renewal; the Board of Trustees of Immaculata University; and as liaison for the IHM Literacy Centers.
From 1994 to 2000, Sister Marie Angela urged the sisters to rededicate themselves to a deeper understanding of their spiritual roots and of their identity as "daughters" of the church.
She renewed the order's commitment to Catholic education and pastoral care, especially for the poor, and to Companions in Prayer and Ministry, an association of lay people who join the sisters in prayer and outreach.
After her term expired in 2000, Sister Marie Angela was appointed superior of Gillet Hall, the faculty residence for nuns at Immaculata University. She remained there until retiring to Camilla Hall in 2012.
Sister Marie Angela was "a gracious, gentle, reflective woman of prayer with a keen mind and the ability to integrate the secular with the spiritual," her religious colleagues said.
She is survived by a sister; two nieces; and two nephews. Two brothers and another sister died earlier.
Services were Saturday, Nov. 21.
Donations may be made to Sisters of I.H.M., Camilla Hall, c/o Mission Advancement, P.O. Box 200, Immaculata, Pa. 19345.