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Sister Mary David Callahan

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Sister Mary David Callahan Benedictine Sister Mary David Callahan died at her home, Mt. St. Benedict Monastery, on March 15, 2005, after a long illness. She was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, a daughter of the late Leo David and Anna Short Callahan and received her early education in St. Joseph Parish Schools. She graduated from St. Benedict Academy, Erie, Pennsylvania in 1941 and entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie in August of the same year. Sister Mary David made her final profession as a Benedictine Sister on August 21, 1945, and has celebrated her silver and golden anniversaries of profession. She was an accomplished pianist, organist and composer who began her ministry in music at age five with piano lessons. At age 12, she was playing the church organ as well as the piano. Her formal education in music included a bachelor’s degree in music with concentration in composition, theory and piano awarded by the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York and a master’s degree in liturgy and liturgical music from Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana. Sister Mary David taught piano and choral music in several parish schools: Immaculate Conception, Clarion; St. Stephen, Oil City; Venango Catholic High School, Oil City; and at St. Benedict Academy, Erie. She served as organist at St. Julia’s Parish, Erie and St. Titus Parish, Titusville, Pennsylvania. The compositions which were her primary focus since the 1950s are well known and widely published. While most of her work is related to liturgy and ranges from psalm tones to hymns to masses, she composed orchestral and instrumental works, including a symphony. Sister Mary David served her Benedictine community as novice director and as liturgical musician at Mount St. Benedict Monastery. As novice director, she trained dozens of young sisters in the Rule of St. Benedict; as musician, her compositions and interpretations of her own and other music graced and energized monastic liturgies daily for many years. As well as her parents, Sister Mary David was preceded in death by her sister, Dorothy. She is survived by her religious community, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie; her brother, David L. Callahan of Oil City, Pennsylvania; and her nephew, Dr. Paul LaFemina of Las Vegas, Nevada. Visiting hours Thursday at Mt. St. Benedict Monastery 7 to 9 p.m. and on Friday 2 to 7 p.m. Service of memories will be held on Friday at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian burial on Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by interment in Trinity cemetery. Memorials may be made to Mt. St. Benedict Monastery, 6101 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511. Arrangements were carried out by Brugger and Sons Funeral Home, East Ninth Street, Erie. Condolences at www.bruggerfuneralhomes.com.
Published in the Erie Times-News from Mar. 17 to Mar. 18, 2005
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