Sister Jerome’s legacy of compassion and faith begins with children

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ursuline Sister Jerome Corcoran left behind a list of legacies, her work in education, what she did for the poor and the fact she lived to 105.

Sister Jerome died on Sunday. Many people are talking about her life, and any conversation about Sister Jerome has to begin on Youngstown’s lower south side.

Visitors to the Mill Creek Children’s Center, a pre-school off Market Street in Youngstown, are greeted by a plaque on which there’s a picture of Sister Jerome.

“When she first developed it back in 1976, she had three students. Now, more than 4,000 students have passed through our doors,” said Mary Jane Gingher, executive director of the Mill Creek Children’s Center.

Rita Wilson worked for Sister Jerome for eight years.

“If they needed something, they would call Sister Jerome. I can remember she had me at times take them to the dentist or take them to get a pair of shoes. If they didn’t have socks, or if they had a hole in them, she didn’t want them to have anything but the best,” Wilson said.

Even in a WKBN interview from 1968, Sister Jerome was promoting education for disadvantaged youth.

“We’re aware, of course, that the children in the inner city have real troubles with reading and troubles period,” she said during that 1968 interview.

In 2005, Sister Jerome was given an award as an Ohio Pioneer in Education.

“I’ve worked hard for a long time and these children are worth it,” Sister Jerome said.

Monsignor John Zuraw says much of the success of the Mill Creek Children’s Center was Sister Jerome’s ability to raise money.

“She was a nun for 85 years. When she asked people to open their wallets, their checkbooks, their purses because they knew that their money was going to something that would achieve greatness,” Monsignor Zuraw said.

Ursuline Sister Mary McCormick says Sister Jerome fell and broke a hip a couple of weeks ago. The hip was surgically repaired.

“But the doctor said to me then and said to her, ‘I don’t know how well your body will be able to respond to this surgery.’ As it turns out, she just wasn’t able to recover,” Sister Mary said. “She did go peacefully, very peacefully.”

“I truly believe that she was a holy woman, and holiness demonstrates that your physical and your spiritual and emotional all work together. That’s what she demonstrated for the last 105 years,” Monsignor Zuraw said.

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