Sister Rita Marie McLean, CSJ died peacefully at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, 2 O’Connor Drive, Toronto, Ontario on March 18, 2023, in the 76th year of her religious life.
She is predeceased by her parents, John B. McLean and Reta (née O’Connor) McLean and her sister Jon (McKelvey). She will be sadly missed by her family, friends and Sisters in community.
Sister Rita Marie was born in the northern Ontario town of Cobalt and as a young child, Mareta moved with her family to Kirkland Lake. As a teenager, she and her sister moved to Toronto with their mother and she completed her high school education at St. Joseph’s College School.
On September 14, 1946, Mareta entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and in 1949 began studies in French and Music at the University of Toronto and obtained her BA in 1954. Sister Rita Marie was a high school educator for nineteen years in a number of the Congregation’s secondary schools.
In 1970, Sister Rita Marie obtained a Masters of Arts degree in French and over the years continued studies in music and in pastoral theology from St. Paul University, Ottawa. She served as dean of St. Joseph’s College Residence from 1974-1979 as well as assistant registrar at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto until 1985. She was well loved by the students bringing new and innovative ideas to residence life at St. Michael’s College.
In 1990, Sister Rita Marie was appointed director of St. Joseph’s Centre at the Morrow Park motherhouse for three years and then continued as program director until 2000. She facilitated pastoral and spiritual programs for the Catholic community. Throughout her life, Sister Rita Marie continued to contribute her musical talents by playing the organ at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park and at 2 O’Connor Drive. As her health began to decline in the past few years she was cared for by the excellent staff at the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fontbonne Ministries.