Sister Gemma Procopio of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters dies


sistergemma-webSister Gemma Procopio, one of the first sisters of her order to serve in the United States, died Oct. 25. She was 84.
Maria Concetta Procopio, popularly known as Sister Gemma, was born on May 23, 1929 of Francesco and Giuseppina Procopio, the 10th of 11 children. She entered the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome in 1954.
She worked in Ribera, Italy, from 1954-60 when she was transferred to Via Cicerone in Rome until 1963. At that time she boarded the Cristoforo Colombo and sailed to New York.
She was greeted by family and lived in Vineland for two and a half months until religious housing could be established. Sister Gemma was one of the first three pioneers to bring the spirit and charism of Blessed Mother Mary Catherine Troiani to the U.S.A.
Sister Gemma and the other sisters moved to what was then the newly formed parish of St. Jude’s in Blackwood. She remained there, watching over parishioners, priests and sisters as they moved in and out of the parish. Her prayer and telephone ministry kept her in touch with a multitude of people.
Sister Gemma is survived by her religious community now in Glassboro, and all the sisters of the Institute of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters, her sister Rosa Stagliano in Vineland, in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was a favorite among family members.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 30 at St. Bridget Church in Glassboro. Interment was at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Chews Landing. Contributions in her memory would be appreciated to Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 212 Ellis St., Glassboro NJ 08028. Condolences may be viewed/posted at