Sister Janet M. Purcell, IHM

Sister Janet M. Purcell (formerly: Sister Mary Matthew) died in Camilla Hall on June 22, 2023, in the 65th year of her religious life after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Janet was born on September 4, 1940; her parents Hugh and Catherine (Lynch) Purcell ultimately settled in St. Louis Parish in Yeadon and raised their family of three.

Janet attended Nativity Elementary in Washington, DC (1946-1947) and St. Louis in Yeadon (1947-1954); she attended Villa Maria Academy High School in Green Tree (1954-1958). Subsequently, she earned an A.B. degree from Immaculata College (Math) and an M.A. degree (Math) from Villanova University.

Janet M. Purcell entered our IHM Congregation on July 16, 1958; she received her religious habit and her religious name, Sister Mary Matthew on January 16, 1959, (when given the opportunity, Sister returned to the use of her baptismal name). Sister pronounced First Vows on January 17, 1961.

Sister Janet’s taught children ranging from grades 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8. Sister served in the following parishes from January 1961 through June 1990: St. Philomena, Lansdowne; St. Teresa, Runnemede, NJ; St. Joseph, Warrington; St. Edmond, Philadelphia; St. Clement, Philadelphia; St. Thomas, Croydon; St. Matthew Forestville, CT.

In the fall of 1990 through the school year ending 2010, Sister served the Bishop Kenrick High School Community in a variety of ways. Sister taught the students Math and Computer Technology from 1990 through 1994. Sister then ministered as the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs through February 2009 then as Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs through the school year ending 2010.

When Sister Janet went to Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford in August 2010, she “went” as the Vice Principal of Academic Affairs; she was then asked to serve as the Principal in August 2011. Sister remained Principal through the school year ending 2015.

In the fall of 2015, Sister Janet came to Villa Maria House of Studies (Motherhouse) to assist in the Finance Office. Sister Janet was steadfast in her service and her loving participation in Community life. Toward the latter part of her ministry here, Sister learned that she had cancer. Sister fought valiantly to live, in the last two years of her life she experienced rebounds and lapses; she slipped away peacefully on June 22, 2023. God rest her dear soul!

Sister Janet M. Purcell is survived by her loving and faithful IHM Community, her sister-in-law Beverly C. Purcell, her nephew Scott Purcell, her niece Joanie Fielding and grandnieces and grandnephews. Sister is predeceased by her parents Hugh Matthew Purcell and Catherine Margaret (Lynch) Purcell, her sister Jean Marie Rodgers (Thomas), her brother Hugh, and her nephew Thomas Rodgers, Jr.

Reverend Frank Giuffre, Reverend Alan Okon, Reverend Michael Callaghan, CM, and Reverend John Burger, SSC concelebrated Sister Janet’s Funeral Mass on Thursday, July 6, 2023. Deacon Thomas O’Brien assisted at the altar and Father Giuffre delivered the homily.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to:
Camilla Hall Nursing Home
IHM Mission Advancement Office
230 IHM Drive
Malvern, PA 19355