Sister Rita Francis Fiefhaus, O.S.F., 94, died May 25 in Assisi House. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 71 years. Sister Rita Francis was born Mary Isabel Fiefhaus in Philadelphia, where she was a member of St. Bonaventure Parish. She entered the congregation in 1938 and professed her first vows in 1940. A graduate of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Villanova University. Sister Rita Francis ministered primarily in education and parish ministry. In her free time she loved listening to and playing music, especially the piano and organ. She gave piano lessons for more than 30 years and was often the organist at Mass on Sunday.
Sister Rita Francis ministered for 24 years in the Diocese of Camden where she served as the director of religious education for St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Absecon. She also ministered for 12 years in the Diocese of Trenton at St. Raphael School.
She served for 16 years in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where she taught at Our Lady of Consolation School; John W. Hallahan High School; and Little Flower High School. Sister Rita Francis continued her ministry in Philadelphia in prayer ministry at St. Agnes Medical Center Convent and Assisi House in Aston where she served until her death.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated May 30 at Assisi House. Interment followed in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Aston. Sister Rita Francis is survived by her sister, Anne Bahr; nieces; a nephew; grandnieces; grandnephews; and by her Franciscan family.