Sister Anita Cattafesta, OSF (formerly Sister Rita), 91, died in Assisi House in Aston, Pa., on Thursday, October 6. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 67 years.
Sister Anita was born in South Philadelphia, where she was a member of St. Monica Parish and a graduate of J.W. Hallahan Girls High School and Peirce Business School. She entered the congregation in 1952 and professed her first vows in 1955. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English humanities from Villanova University, a master’s degree in education administration from Penn State, and a master’s in theological studies from the Franciscan School of Theology. Sister Anita ministered primarily in education and administration.
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, Sister Anita was both a teacher and principal at St. Joseph School in Dallastown. She served for 27 years in the Diocese of Trenton as a teacher, assistant superintendent, coordinator of education and vice president of mission and ministry at St. Francis Medical Center. During her 30 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Sister Anita served on the congregation’s general council from 1978-1986, as director of sponsorship for six years, and in various positions of administration at Neumann University in Aston.
Sister Anita also spent five years in Zambia, Africa, serving in education at the MPIMA Seminary in St. Augustine.
Since early 2022, she served in prayer and hospitality ministry in Assisi House, where she lived at the time of her death
All services will be held in Assisi House in Aston on Monday, October 17 and will be livestreamed. A Christian Wake Service will be held at 9:30 a.m. followed by a viewing. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m., with burial in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston.
Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.