As quietly as she lived, Sister Philip (Rita) Dzurisin fell asleep in the Lord early Wednesday morning, June 1, 2011, at Mount Macrina Manor. She had been a member of the Uniontown Province of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great for 63 years.
Sister Philip was born in Pittston, a daughter of the late George and Mary (Kizlin) Dzurisin. A member of St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Parish in Pittston, she entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great on September 13, 1948. Sister Philip pronounced her First Vows on August 15, 1950, and made her Solemn Profession on August 28, 1953, in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.
For almost 50 years of her life as a Sister of St. Basil, Sister Philip served in the education apostolate as either teacher or principal throughout the parishes of the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. She taught at every grade level from first through eighth, 32 of those years serving as both teacher and principal. Upon retiring from teaching, Sister Philip returned to the Monastery in Uniontown, Pa. For two years, she assisted the Province Treasurer, chiefly as the bookkeeper for the Vestment Department, the Religious Gift Shop and the Icon and Liturgical Books Department. During the Annual Pilgrimage, Sister Philip could be found in the Religious Gift Shop, where she helped as a cashier for many years.
Always unassuming in her manner, Sister Philip could be relied on to be faithful in carrying out the minutest details of her assignments. In her own words, Sister Philip wanted to be remembered for “the privilege of ministering and revealing Christ’s Presence to others, especially for the many years in her teaching ministry.” Revealing Christ’s presence to others was a key facet of Sister Philip’s personality. One particular way in which she did this was in her gift of compassion, whether in listening or in offering words of comfort.
Sister Philip’s deep gratitude for her religious vocation was nourished by her equally deep spirit of prayer. Even after being admitted to the Manor due to illness, Sister Philip could be counted on to remember others in prayer as she joined in spirit with the community at the Monastery for Matins and Vespers. Even though her place in the Monastery Chapel was vacant, her heart remained united with all the Sisters.
Sister Philip was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, the Rev. Monsignor George, Joseph, Michael, and John; and her sister, Mary Wascavage.
In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her sister, Sister Paula; her brother, Paul and his wife, Dorothy; and many devoted nephews and nieces.
The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by the Very Rev. Eugene Yackanich at 10:30 a.m. today in the Monastery Chapel. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.
Stephen E. Kezmarsky III Funeral Home, Uniontown, Pa., is in charge of arrangements.