Sister Claudia Cunningham, 88, a teacher and social-service volunteer, died Thursday, Nov. 19, of cardiopulmonary failure at Assisi House in Aston.
She had been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 63 years.
Born Lillian Marie Cunningham in Trenton, Sister Claudia graduated from Cathedral High School. She entered the convent in 1950 and professed her first vows in 1952.
A sibling, Sister Madonna Marie Cunningham, also was a member of that convent. She died in 2010 at age 76.
Sister Claudia earned a bachelor's degree in English from Villanova University and a master's degree in religious education from Catholic University of America.
She was active for 29 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She taught at St. Aloysius School in Pottstown and St. Hubert Catholic High School.
She served in parish ministry at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown and at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia.
During her last year at Epiphany, she did volunteer work at Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Lima, St. Ignatius Nursing Home in Philadelphia, and the Baby Cupboard at Catholic Social Services in Chester.
Sister Ann Marie Slavin, her religious colleague, said that Sister Claudia seemed to be a very quiet person, but that she told others "she found life to be exciting, always evolving and full of surprises.
"That excitement could be heard in her voice. She was also very creative, a gift she often displayed in the cards she created for friends," Sister Ann Marie said.
Sister Claudia also worked as a teacher and pastoral care helper for 12 years in the Diocese of Wilmington. She taught in Newark, Del., and later worked in pastoral ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Elkton, Md.
She spent 11 years teaching in the Diocese of Trenton and six teaching at Catholic high schools in Baltimore. While there, she worked as a typist and driver for the sisters with whom she lived at St. Anthony's Convent.
At various times, Sister Claudia taught at St. Francis School in Allentown and at Holy Spirit School in Jacksonville, N.C. In the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., she worked in parish care at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Lake City.
In 2006, Sister Claudia moved to Assisi House in Aston, where she served in prayer until her death.
She is survived by a brother, Richard Cunningham, and nieces and nephews.
Services were Wednesday, Nov. 25, with burial in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston.
Donations may be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Rd., Aston, Pa. 19014.