Sister Dorothy (Rose Patrick) Gourley, CSJ, 91, died Sunday, May 28, 2023, in the 74th year of her religious life. The daughter of Patrick and Rose Lynch Gourley, Sister Dorothy entered the Congregation from St. Raphael in Pittsburgh.
For three decades, she served as a teacher in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, Altoona-Johnstown, and Greensburg, as well as in Ohio and Miami. Her education ministry sites included St. Mary in Freeport (1953-57), St. Bernard in Pittsburgh (1957-62), Nativity in Pittsburgh (1962-66), St. Charles in Donora (1966-67), St. Pius X in Reynoldsburg, OH (1967-71), St. Titus in Aliquippa (1971-78), St. Peter in Somerset (1978-81), and St. John Neumann in Miami (1981-83).
Sister Dorothy was a beloved teacher known for her creativity in the classroom. Enamored by her artistry, a former first-grade student recalled vividly how Sister Dorothy told the story of Creation in colorful chalk drawings that spanned the huge blackboard.
Wishing to transition into a ministry that served individuals in need, Sister Dorothy worked for a year as a clerk for Catholic Charities. That pivotal move opened a 28-year path into social services, where Sister Dorothy first served as a case worker for Allegheny County Children and Youth Services (1984-85).
She subsequently became one of the first guardian workers at the Ursuline Center in what was a model program to protect older adults who lacked the capacity to make effective decisions for their own health, safety, welfare, and finances. Compassionate, caring, and person-centered, Sister Dorothy recalled that while the work was “demanding with many agonizing moments, it was also very rewarding.”
Predeceased by three brothers and two sisters, Sister Dorothy is survived by a brother, John Gourley of Oakmont, and a sister, Elizabeth Lord of Valencia; nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces; Associates; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden. The Sisters are grateful to the Supportive Living staff at the Motherhouse for their care of Sister Dorothy.
Services for Sister Dorothy
Friends will be received Monday, June 5, from 1 p.m. to the close of the Prayer Vigil, which begins at 6 p.m. in Medaille Hall at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Get directions to the Motherhouse.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Tuesday, June 6, at 4 p.m. in the Motherhouse Chapel.
Donations in the name of Sister Dorothy may be sent to the Sisters of St. Joseph Memorial Fund, Development Office, 1020 State St., Baden, PA, 15005. Make an online donation in memory of Sister Dorothy.