• Sister Miriam Ward, RSM
    January 22,2014

    Sister Miriam Ward, RSM

    Sister Miriam Ward, RSM

    BURLINGTON — Sister Miriam Ward, RSM (Dorothea Irene Ward), 88, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Jan. 17, 2014, in her 70th year of religious life.

    Sister Miriam was born in Salem, N.Y., Jan. 14, 1926, the daughter of Raymond and Dora (Douglas) Ward. She attended Proctor Elementary School, Middlebury High School, and Mount St. Mary High School, in Burlington. Sister Miriam received her BA in English from Trinity College, Vermont, an MA in theology from Providence College, and her Ph.D. in religion from the University of Ottawa.

    Sister entered the Sisters of Mercy on Feb. 18, 1943, and was professed on Aug. 18, 1945. She taught in elementary and secondary schools staffed by the Sisters of Mercy, and was an instructor of religious education in many parishes throughout Vermont. Sister Miriam was a professor of religious studies and chairperson of the Religious Studies Department at Trinity College, and founder and director of the annual Biblical Institute held at Trinity College from 1966 to 1990. Sister was a lecturer at Providence College and an adjunct professor at St. Michael’s College.

    Sister Miriam has been a leader and a passionate force for global justice and peace throughout her lifetime. She was a founding member of Pax Christi, Burlington. She also wrote many guest editorials and op-ed pieces on issues of peace and justice, particularly the Middle East, El Salvador and South Africa. Sister just completed a book for publication, “Behind the Wall: Palestinians Under Occupation.”

    Sister Miriam received an honorary citation for “contribution to a better understanding of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict” by the Palestine Human Rights Committee, Chicago, and an honorary citation for “significant contribution to a better understanding of the Arab World” by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Detroit. Sister Miriam was the recipient of the Janet Rogan Peace Award by Pax Christi Burlington.

    Sister was the founder of Vermonters for Middle East Peace and was a member of the Vermont Human Rights Delegation to El Salvador/Honduras.

    Sister Miriam is survived by her sister Ruth Mary Vahle, of Baldwinsville, N.Y.; and her sister Dolores Swanson, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews in the Robinson family in North Carolina, the Swanson family in California, and the Ward and Vahle families in New York and Maryland; and also by her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents, Raymond and Dora (Douglas) Ward, and her siblings Robert, Thomas, James, Joseph, John and Rose Marie.

    A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at Mount St. Mary Chapel. Visiting hours will be 6 to 8 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Mount St. Mary’s. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, in support of their ministerial works, in care of the Life and Ministry Administrator, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington, VT 05401. Arrangements are in the care of the Ready Funeral Home South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington.

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