Joe Bukuras, CNA, contributed reporting.
Sister Augustine Marie Molnar passed away the weekend before Thanksgiving after colliding head-on with another vehicle on the road as she was traveling to a reunion of participants in the annual discernment retreat, Fiat Days.
Sister Molnar, 43, a member of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, was a middle school religion teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Cresson, Diocese of Altoona Johnstown.
She assisted in vocation work in the Diocese of Allentown and was headed to Reading to share her own vocation story.
“She joined us every July for [the women’s discernment retreat] Fiat Days and [the men’s discernment retreat] Quo Vadis to play the organ, trumpet, and to promote her vocation and community,” said Father Mark Searles, Vocations Director of the Diocese of Allentown. “She was beloved by the sisters, seminarians, and students,” he added.
“She died promoting vocations, you could say,” Mother Mary Joseph Calore, SSCJ, Sr. Molnar’s order’s provincial superior in the United States, told CNA in a phone interview.
Sister Molnar plays piano at a diocesan vocations retreat.
Calore said that Sister Augustine Marie also worked at the community’s personal care home for the elderly, the John Paul II Manor, as a physical therapist.
“She was such a hidden soul,” Calore said. “She was hidden in life, but in death, everyone is giving glory to the Sacred Heart for everything she was doing.”
Calore said that Sister Augustine Marie had just finished a private retreat four days before her passing saying that “she was in a very peaceful and good place spiritually.”
“So I think that Our Lord took her at a time in her spiritual life when she was very ready to meet him,” she said.
Calore said that Gregorian Masses are being prayed for the repose of Sister Augustine Marie’s soul.
Gregorian Masses are 30 consecutive days of Masses offered for the deceased right after their death.
The two passengers in the other vehicle survived and only had minor injuries, George Holmes, the chief deputy coroner for Berks County, told CNA Monday.
Sister Augustine Marie had taken temporary vows with the community and possibly would have made her perpetual profession of vows as early as March of next year.
“She was a wonderful, sacrificial, and prayerful holy sister, and we’re really going to miss her terribly,” Calore told CNA.
Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 12, 1980, Sister Augustine Marie entered the Congregation of the Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on Sept. 8, 2013.
She made her first profession of vows in 2017 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cresson.
She served in the sisters’ local community of St. Maximilian Kolbe, which is located at the congregation’s provincial house in Cresson.
Top photo: Sister Augustine Marie Molnar, a member of the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, died tragically in a car accident on Nov. 18, 2023, while traveling to an event to promote vocations. | Credit: Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (CNA)