Sister Mary Carmela Cesari, RSM In Oakland on July 1, 2011 at the age of 88. Born in San Francisco, Ruth Gertrude was the oldest of the three children of Paul Cesari and Marie Casazza Cesari. She grew up in St. Peter's Parish, attending both the parish elementary school and the parish high school. In 1943 Ruth entered the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame and professed her vows in 1946, having taken the religious name of Sister Mary Carmela. She spent the next fifty-five years ministering in elementary education. A tall imposing woman with a strong Italian temperament, Sister Mary Carmela ruled many a seventh and eighth grade classroom at Holy Name School, St. Gabriel School and St. Stephen School in San Francisco, St. Anthony School in Oakland, and St. Bruno School in Whittier. She also served as principal at St. Anthony School: 1965-67, St. Stephen School:1974-77 and St. Bruno School: 1967-73. Sister Mary Carmela was a master teacher, and assisted many young sister teachers in their first years of junior high teaching. She had great rapport with her students, especially the boys who could never put anything over on her. After thirty years of full-time classroom teaching and school administration, Sister Mary Carmela returned to her alma mater St. Peter's School as a part-time junior high teacher and P.E. coordinator where she remained for many years. During this time she lived in the convent at Mercy High School, San Francisco, where she took great interest in the high school and was well-liked and respected by both faculty and staff. Sister Mary Carmela loved her Italian heritage, especially opera, and in her later years attended performances as often as she could. In 2003 Sister moved to the sisters' retirement center in Burlingame, then spent her last years at Mercy Retirement and Care Center, Oakland. She will be remembered as a woman of strong principles and generous heart. Sister Mary Carmela is survived by her nephews Paul Cesari (Sonya), Michael Cesari (Kitty), John Cesari, Michael Cesari (Lisa), Victor Paganelli, David Paganelli, and Mark Paganelli, and niece Eldeen Shields (Jeff), and her loving community of the Sisters of Mercy. Friends may call at Marian Oaks Chapel in Burlingame after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5th. A vigil service will be held on Tuesday, July 5th at 7pm at the Sisters of Mercy Chapel in Burlingame and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the same place on Wednesday, July 6th at 10a.m., followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma. Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of Mercy, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, CA, 94010.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 3, 2011