Sister Joseph Mary Galli, RSM
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In Oakland on Sunday, June 8, 2014, at the age of 89. Born in Cozzo di Colla, near Lugano, Switzerland, in 1925, Irma was the second of the three children of Joseph Galli and Esther Ceresa Galli. She grew up in Switzerland through the Great Depression and World War II, coming to San Francisco with her parents and sisters in 1949. She and her sister worked in a laundry for the next few years while taking night classes in English at Galileo high school near her home. She had always wanted to be a sister since she first saw two sisters with some children when she was a child of four. It was at St. Mary's Hospital, visiting her sister and new-born niece where she met the Sisters of Mercy. Entering the community in Burlingame in July 1954, she took the religious name Sister Joseph Mary and professed her vows in January of 1957. Sister spent the next thirteen years at the Burlingame Motherhouse responsible for the sacristy and many other domestic duties. From 1967 to 1970 she was assistant to the Director of Novices. In 1970 Sister began 33 years of ministry at St. Mary's Hospital. Beginning as sacristan and patient visitor, Sister became a chaplain in the Pastoral Services Department of the hospital, where she brought much comfort and peace to the hearts of many patients and employees who sought her counsel and looked forward to her visits. Her special ministry was to the Italian speaking patients. Often Sister could be found on night duty, moving through the hospital corridors with her walkie-talkie, looking for those who needed a comforting presence. When the hospital convent closed in 1985, Sister Joseph Mary moved to the convent at Mercy High School in San Francisco, beginning several years of riding Muni to her ministry at the hospital every day. She also had a great love for the poor, and her untiring efforts on their behalf included the constant collecting and dispensing of food, clothing and money for their welfare. After many years of devoted service, in 2003 Sister Joseph Mary retired to Marian Oaks in Burlingame, the sisters' retirement home, where she continued her life of prayer and supportive presence to her community sisters. In 2012 declining health prompted her move to Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland, where she died. She will be remembered for her unique use of the English language, deep prayerfulness, untiring compassion for the sick and dying, concern for the poor, and cheerful community presence. Sister Joseph Mary is survived by her sister, Mary Boscacci, her nephews Eugene and Joseph Boscacci, other relatives and friends, and her loving community of the Sisters of Mercy. Friends may call after 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, at Marian Oaks, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame. The vigil service will be at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, June 16 at 10:30 a.m. at Marian Oaks followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma. Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010.
Duggan's Serra Mortuary
500 Westlake Avenue Daly City, CA 94014
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 15, 2014