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SISTER ELIZABETH CANDON, RSM (SR. MARY PATRICK) - BURLINGTON - Sister Elizabeth Candon, RSM (Sr. Mary Patrick) of the Sisters of Mercy, Northeast Community, died peacefully on Feb. 1, 2012, in her 74th year of religious life. Elizabeth Candon was born in Pittsford on May 31, 1921, the daughter of James P. and Margaret (Carrigan) Candon. She began her education in a one-room schoolhouse and graduated from Pittsford High School in 1938. After a year at Trinity College of Vermont, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Burlington on Sept. 8, 1939, and went on to earn a bachelors of arts from Trinity as well as an M.A. and Ph.D from Fordham University in Medieval English Language and Literature. Sister Elizabeth taught at Mount Saint Mary Academy and Cathedral Grammar School before becoming a professor of English at Trinity. She served as Director of Admissions and was President of the College from 1966-1976. Administrative responsibilities did not prevent her from teaching a course every semester for more than 50 years. In the words of Chaucer, "gladly wolde [s]he lerne and gladly teche." Sister Elizabeth reveled in all aspects of higher education, serving on many state and national committees, particularly those focusing on the empowerment of women. Among the academic honors she received were eight Honorary Doctorates from Vermont colleges and universities. In 1976 she was asked by Governor Snelling to join his cabinet as Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. She relished her appointment as a natural extension of the vows she took when she became a Sister of Mercy to "serve the poor, the sick and the uneducated." After three highly successful terms as Secretary, Sister Elizabeth returned to Trinity to teach Chaucer and Shakespeare and play an invaluable role as Special Assistant to the President. Following her retirement in 2000, she lived for several years in Washington, DC, where she enjoyed the highly charged political and cultural atmosphere. Sister Elizabeth was devastated on the morning of 9/11 to smell the acrid smoke rising from the burning Pentagon, but throughout her life welcomed unexpected experiences. She often spoke of three in particular: a trip to Scandinavia in the late 1960s when she accompanied Tim Pitkin, the founder of Goddard College, and his wife Helen to visit programs for non- traditional-age learners to determine if they could be replicated in Vermont; a white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon at 76, accompanied by University of Vermont colleagues and "experiencing God's Grandeur" in the lofty mountains and gorgeous sun rises and sets; and her 90th birthday party where coworkers and friends joined her to celebrate her accomplishments and enjoy her inimitable company and to pay tribute to all Sisters of Mercy. Her greatest joy during the last days of her long and rich life was talking with her family, many friends, and particularly former students, faculty and staff at Trinity College. She wanted to make sure that her support team of Sisters and dear friends knew how much she appreciated their care with special thanks to Mary Ann Riffle, RN, manager of health care for the Sisters of Mercy in Vermont, whose visits always brought a comforting aura of calm and confidence. Above all Sister Elizabeth wished that her final days of life would be reminiscent of those of Saint Thomas More who, as he was dying surrounded by family and friends said to them, "Now, let us all be merrie together in Heaven." Sister Elizabeth is survived by her Sisters of Mercy; a younger sister, Margaret and her husband, Edward Durham, of Poultney; and many wonderful nieces, nephews, grand- and great-grandnieces and nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her parents, James and Margaret (Carrigan) Candon of Pittsford; eight siblings and their spouses, John and Catherine (O'Connor) Candon, Joseph and Rita (Stone) Candon, Patrick and Evelyn (Beshaw) Candon, Mary and Edward Dugan, James and Ann (Dynan) Candon, Reverend Francis Candon, Matthew Lowth and Eleanor (Hartnett) Candon, and Dr. Tom Candon; and niece, Sarah Ann Candon. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, at 2 p.m. in Mt. St. Mary Chapel. Visiting hours will be Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, from 5 to 8 p.m., with a prayer of remembrance at 7 p.m. in Mt. St. Mary Chapel. Arrangements are in the care of the Ready Funeral Home South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Northeast Community, or to Mercy Connection, in care of the Administrative Office, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington.

Published in The Burlington Free Press from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4, 2012
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