Sister Agnes Bonner, OSF, formerly Sister Catherine Michael, died in VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit at Jefferson Methodist Hospital on Tuesday, December 13. She was 99 and had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 78 years.
Sister Agnes was born in Wilmington, Delaware, where she was a member of St. Joseph on the Brandywine Parish and a graduate of Alexis I. du Pont High School. She entered the congregation in 1942 and professed her first vows in 1944. She earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in Biology/Science, both from Villanova University. She ministered primarily in secondary education and social service.
Sister Agnes ministered for 29 years in the Diocese of Wilmington. She served in social services as the manager of the Emmanuel Dining Room for four years and as a receptionist at St. Francis Hospital for 10 years. Beginning in 2003, she served at Nativity Prep School for 12 years, first as a receptionist and then as a volunteer.
During her 19 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Sister Agnes served as a science teacher and head of the science department at West Catholic High School for Girls and in local house ministry at Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston. She also volunteered with the American Cancer Society. In 2017, Sister Agnes moved to Assisi House, the congregation’s retirement residence in Aston, where she served in prayer and hospitality ministry until her death.
Sister Agnes taught for 13 years in the Diocese of Trenton at both Blessed Sacrament School and McCorristin High School, where she also served as the head of the science department. She also taught chemistry for nine years in the Allentown diocese at Holy Name School in Reading.
Additional ministry includes teaching science for four years in the Diocese of Harrisburg at St. Joseph School in Lancaster and at Lancaster Catholic High School; two years at St. Mary Children’s Home in Fall River, Massachusetts; and a half a year at St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore.
All services will be held in Assisi House on Wednesday, December 21, and will be livestreamed. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 9:30 a.m. followed by viewing. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston. Sister Agnes is survived by her nieces and nephews and her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.