Sister Mary Elizabeth Fox (Sister Saint Miriam Emmanuel), a Sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, died peacefully on March 7, 2019 at Lourdes Health Care Center in Wilton, CT. Sister’s entire adult life was one of strong commitment to young people in Catholic schools and to adults seeking a deeper spiritual meaning in their lives.
Born in Waterbury, CT in 1941 to William Francis Fox and Josephine (Verrastro) Fox, she attended St. Margaret’s Parish School, then went on to Waterbury Catholic High School, graduating in 1959. Several months later Mary Elizabeth entered the Novitiate of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Bourbonnais, IL.
After her first profession of vows in 1961, Sister studied at Notre Dame College of Staten Island, where she received her B.A., at Columbia University in NYC for her M.A, and at the City University of New York, from which she received a Ph.D. in Mathematics. She taught Math at Notre Dame Academy and Notre Dame College of Staten Island, at Stamford Catholic High School in Stamford, CT, and at the Puerto Rican Youth Learning Center in Waterbury, CT. Students responded well to her clear, patient explanations, and to her own joy at their success.
After attending the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, PA, she began providing spiritual direction to adults. Although Sister’s health made it necessary to cut back to part-time ministry, with her keen intelligence and creativity she answered needs in Ridgefield, CT, Bronx, NY and elsewhere, offering retreats, tutoring, GED preparation and counseling at the North Bronx Counseling Center, and programs like “Morning for Mothers” at Villa Maria Academy in the Bronx.
Sister Mary Elizabeth served for two years at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Stamford, CT, where she was engaged in a variety of projects, serving the pastoral needs of parishioners and supporting the CND Associates in the Stamford area. In 2016 she went to the Congregation’s retirement home, Andrus-on-Hudson, in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, continuing her prayer especially for St. Cecilia’s Parish. Her final months were spent at Lourdes Health Care Center in Wilton, CT, where she treated the staff who cared for her with respect and compassion.
Sister Mary Elizabeth was predeceased by her parents, and she will be deeply missed by her sister Regina (Fox) Cotchian, her brother Peter, and their families, and by her CND family. A wake and funeral were held at Villa Notre Dame, in Wilton, CT.