Sister Apollonia Morelli, O.S.F.

Sister Apollonia Morelli, O.S.F., 97, died Oct. 21 in Assisi House, Aston.

Born Anna Morelli, she was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and later moved to Jersey City, N.J., where she was a member of St. Aedan Parish and a graduate of St. Dominic Academy. In 1931 she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood, a congregation that later merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and professed her first vows in 1933.

She earned a B.A. in English in 1953, an M.A. in English in 1971, and an M.A. in administration in 1975 — all from Seton Hall University. Sister Apollonia served primarily in education and in parish ministry.

Sister Apollonia ministered for 39 years in the Archdiocese of Newark. She taught at Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange (1972-1989), St. Thomas School in Bloomfield (1989-1990), and St. Stephen School in Kearney (1990-1991). She served as principal of St. Anthony School in E. Newark (1959-1960) and both taught and served as principal of Assumption School in Emerson (1963-1964, 1966-1970). From 1991-2004 she served as assistant principal of Sacred Heart School in Newark. Sister Apollonia also served in parish ministry at Holy Rosary Parish in Jersey City in 1936-1937.


Sister Apollonia’s 20 year of service in the Diocese of Paterson included teaching at St. Catherine School in Ringwood (1950-1952, 1964-1966, 1970-1971). During some of those years, she also served as principal.  From 1938-1941 and again from 1943-1944, she served as director of Mt. St. Francis Boarding School in Ringwood. Her years in parish ministry were spent at St. Catherine Parish in Ringwood (1933-1935), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Passaic (1935-1936), and St. Anthony Parish in Passaic (1949-1950). From 2004-2010 she lived at St. Joseph Residence in Ringwood and from 2010-2011 resided at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Convent in Passaic where she served as a volunteer.

Siser Apollonia also ministered for 12 years in the Diocese of Brooklyn. She served in parish ministry at Holy Family Parish (1941-1942, 1955-1959, 1971-1972). She taught at St. Benedict School in Brooklyn (1952-1955) and returned there as principal from 1960-1963.

Between 1942-1943 and again from 1944-1949, Sister Apollonia ministered in the Diocese of Albany, dividing her time between St. Mary Parish in Frankford and St. Anthony Parish in Herkimer. During those years she taught religion on both elementary and secondary levels.

In 2011 Sister Apollonia moved to Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston, the congregation’s motherhouse, for a year and then in 2013 moved to Assisi House, the congregation’s retirement residence in Aston where she served in prayer ministry until her death.

In addition to her regular ministries, Sister Apollonia also served in congregational ministries. In 1975 she was director of the children’s camp at Mt. St. Francis in Ringwood. From 1986-1989 she served as a member of the general council for the Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Monday, Oct. 28 at Our Lady of Angels Convent Chapel, Aston. Burial was in Ringwood, N.J. Sister Apollonia is survived by her sister, Rose Schulz, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and by her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.