Sister Mary Geraldine Vargo, SDR
Sister Mary Geraldine Vargo, SDR was born in Barberton, Ohio and baptized at Holy Trinity Church. She taught herself piano at age 5, unaware that she would teach hundreds of children to love music and play piano.
After receiving her B.S. in Education from St. John’s College in Cleveland, Sister Geraldine taught intermediate grades in parish schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Sometime later the Provincial Superior, Sr. Innocence, assigned Sr. Geraldine to study French at Duquesne University. Sr. Celine offered to give her a headstart using books from the Order’s academy. On the way over, Sr. Geraldine met the new Provincial, Sr. Beatrice, who told her, “No, you will major in Music.” A most satisfying surprise considering Sister’s love for music.
After receiving her B.A. in Music from Carlow College (Pittsburgh) in 1974, Sister began teaching music full-time; the longest stretch was 25 years at St. Bartholomew’s in Penn Hills. Her days were also spent preparing children for the annual Spring concert; and directing the children’s choir for Christmas and Easter and the Pittsburgh Diocesan Children’s Music Festival (intermediate division).
In 2005 Sr. Geraldine came to the Motherhouse where she helped at the reception desk; also with driving and dishwashing; and taught piano. She directed the Sisters’ choir, played the organ, and could sing alto, descant, and all the notes in between. At 94 she still helps “the older Sisters” at mealtime in the dining room.
As Sister’s eyesight continues to diminish, she finds joy in the accomplishments of her students. Nathan, now 22 years old, began piano lessons in 2008 at age 10 eventually moving on to the organ. When Sr. Geraldine was visiting our Sisters in Europe, Nathan played the organ in the Motherhouse chapel for Sunday Masses; he then offered to continue once a month.
When asked how she is able to accept her loss of eyesight, Sister responds, “I offer it for the conversion of sinners, that no one be lost.” She begins each day very early, in the quiet of the chapel, with personal prayer, then with the Community.
Sr. Geraldine enjoys keeping in touch with her large family; playing Rummikub; sharing jokes; and, when she was able, caring for the Lourdes and Fatima shrines, and the Divine Redeemer statue at the entrance to the Motherhouse.
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Happy Anniversary, Sister Geraldine!