OSSINING, N.Y. – Sister Cecile Therese Burton, an educator and social worker in Hawaii, died Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Maryknoll Sisters Home Care. She was 91.
She was born in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23, 1924, to Cecile R. Burton and Frank E. Burton. The family moved to Philadelphia, and she graduated from Little Flower Catholic High School in Pennsylvania in 1942 and Immaculata College, Immaculata, Pa., in 1945, with a bachelor’s degree in French and a teaching certificate.
She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation from St. Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia on Sept. 6, 1945, at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse in Ossining. At her reception, she received the religious name Sister M. Cecile Therese. She made her first profession of vows on March 7, 1948, at Maryknoll and her final vows on March 7, 1951, also at Maryknoll. She then taught for one year at St. Anthony’s School in the Bronx before her assignment to Hawaii in 1949.
The next 43 years were spent in various missions in Hawaii as grade and junior high school teacher, religious education coordinator, parish pastoral worker and part-time teacher of English as a second language. In the 1960s, Hawaii added foreign languages to grade school programs, and as a French major, she qualified for a Fulbright Scholarship to study in France in the summer of 1965 and obtained a certifcat d’assiduite.
She became involved in a peace education program teaching peace and nonviolence to children and was an active member of the peace and justice committee of the Maryknoll Sisters in Hawaii from 1979 to 1994. In 1991, while in Kailua, she started a new project, Walking With Women, working with women who lived in prisons and in shelters, and began advocating for women’s rights.
She was predeceased by her parents; one brother, Barry; and one sister, Joyce.
A vespers service will be held Monday, Feb. 22, at 4:15 p.m. in the main chapel at Maryknoll Sisters Center. A funeral Mass will follow on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 11 a.m. also in the main chapel at the center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery.