Sister Mary Eileen (Mary Immaculate) Cook, CSJ, 91, died Friday, November 19, 2021, in the 73rd year of her religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph. The daughter of Clarence and Mary Griffin Cook, she entered the Congregation from St. Raphael parish in Pittsburgh. Sister Mary Eileen served 17 years as an elementary teacher in Pittsburgh and Greensburg diocesan schools and as principal at St. Mary (1966-72) in Freeport and St. James (1983-93) in Sewickley. Sister Mary Eileen also served as Director of Religious Education at Sacred Heart-St. Peter in Tarentum, staff member of Crosspoint Communications, and Administrator of Friendship House in Sewickley.
In the 1990s, she served in the Development Offices of the Congregation, Villa St. Joseph and Quigley High School. After retiring to the Motherhouse in 1999, Sister Mary Eileen became a member of the pastoral care team and friends recall how she helped to organize a dinner for Sisters over age 90. Kind and thoughtful, Sister Mary Eileen valued the relationships she had nurtured over the years, often reaching out quietly and compassionately to individuals facing chronic illness or tragedy.
At St. James, she was known as an efficient and collaborative principal who loved the students, engaged staff, and established enduring connections with parents and parishioners, some of whom generously supported the establishment of Girls Hope of Pittsburgh and Villa St. Joseph. The former music director at St. James dedicated the 2011 TriCounty Choir Institute’s Teen Chorale production of a Passion play, “Why Must He Die?” to Sister Mary Eileen, who inspired her to write the play years earlier for student performers at the parish to help their peers better understand the Passion of Christ.
Predeceased by four brothers and a sister, Sister Mary Eileen is survived by another sister, Diane (Rocco) Conti of Sewickley, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, Associates and thenSisters of St. Joseph. The Sisters are grateful to the staff of Supportive Living in the Motherhouse and the staff at Concordia at Villa St. Joseph long-term and personal care facilities for their care of Sister Mary Eileen.
Friends will be received Monday, November 29, from 1 p.m. to the close of the Prayer Vigil, which begins at 6 p.m., and Tuesday, November 30, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Tuesday, November 30, at 3 p.m. in the Motherhouse Chapel. All visitors who enter the Motherhouse are required to show proof of vaccination and must wear masks.