Sister Mary Prisca Pfeffer dies at 99

Sister of Mercy Mary Prisca Pfeffer died Aug. 12, 2015. (Record File Photo by Marnie McAllister, 2013)
Sister of Mercy Mary Prisca Pfeffer died Aug. 12, 2015. (Record File Photo by Marnie McAllister, 2013)

Sister of Mercy Mary Prisca Pfeffer, the founding principal of Assumption High School and a principal of Mercy Academy, died Aug. 12 at Mercy Convent in Nashville, Tenn. She was 99 and had been a Sister of Mercy for 81 years.

Sister Pfeffer, a native of St. Louis, educated generations of young women during more than 50 years of service as a teacher and principal. She first served as a high school teacher in Ohio. Later, she taught at Mercy Academy and then served there as principal from 1953 to 1954, 1967 to 1974 and again in 1983.

She was the founding principal of Assumption High School, which opened in 1955. She led Assumption until 1967, when she returned to Mercy.

After retirement, Sister Pfeffer remained a supporter of Mercy and Assumption by helping to raise money and attending events.

In November of 2013, Sister Pfeffer received the highest honor awarded by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the faithful, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross. The honor recognized her life-long distinguished service to the church.

In a Record story related to the award and her service, Sister Pfeffer described her early life and vocation, explaining that she discovered at age 4 that God wanted her to enter religious life.

She also expressed the satisfaction and gratitude she has felt in her vocation, saying, “I’ve been happy all my life. I’m so thankful I’m a sister. It hasn’t been difficult at all. I belong here. I’ve never been lonely; I’ve never been unhappy. I’ve just done God’s will.

“It must be terrible not to answer the vocation God gives you, because a vocation is so precious,” she added. “God has been so good to me.”

Throughout her later years, until last year, Sister Pfeffer remained active in events around Louisville. Each year she attended the September Walk for Life, sponsored by Kentucky Right to Life. While she couldn’t attempt the walk, she sat in a rocking chair and rocked to raise funds for the cause. She also regularly attended the annual Living Rosary celebration and prayed outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, where abortions are performed, on Saturday mornings.

In 2014, Sister Pfeffer moved from the Sisters of Mercy Convent on Tyler Lane to Mercy Convent in Nashville, Tenn., where she died.

She is survived by her sister Grace Kendall, niece Carole Pfeffer, nephew Ray Bryant and the Sisters of Mercy.

Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16 at Ratterman and Sons Funeral Home, 3800 Bardstown Road, and at noon on Monday, Aug. 17, at St. Raphael Church, Bardstown Road and Lancashire Avenue.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Raphael at 1 p.m. Aug. 17.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Mission Advancement, 101 Mercy Drive, Belmont, N.C., 28012, or Right to Life of Louisville, 134 Breckenridge Lane, Louisville, Ky., 40207.

The Record
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