Remembering Sister Miriam Claire Kowal, Former Manor College President

Sister Miriam Claire Kowal served as Manor College’s President from 1976 through 1985.

Sister Miriam Claire Kowal (second from left) stood with Dr. Tatiana Cisyk, Lydia-Maria Kaluzhnaand Rem Bahautdin in 1979.
Sister Miriam Claire Kowal

It is with great sadness to share that on September 16, 2022, after a brief illness, Sister Miriam Claire Kowal died at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook, PA.

Sister Claire served as President of Manor College from 1976 through 1985, the second-longest serving president in the institution’s 75 year history. 

“Sister was someone who looked at today, not as a single day, but as a piece of the whole of the timeline of the Lord’s Kingdom, which is forever,” Dr. Jonathan Peri, Manor College President, said. “She looked at today, and the challenges of today, as little steps; little moments where we can make a big difference through sharing our compassion and thoughtfulness universally now and across the timeline of our lifetimes.”

Born in Auburn, NY, in 1935 to Michael and Justine Orysik Kowal, Sister entered religious life at the age of seventeen.  The multiple focus of her life’s mission began to evolve within the long-established tradition of the Order of Saint Basil the Great.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and a master’s in education from Duquesne, University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sister spent several years as a teacher in St. George School in New York City.

From 1962 to 1972 she served as Director of Admission and Registrar at Manor College; from 1972 to 1976 she served as the college’s Academic Dean.  Always eager to do more than fulfill the minimum requirements of any task assigned to her, Sister excelled in her work, inspiring those around her to reach for greater goals and dream greater visions.

As President of Manor College, several new initiatives were begun to make the college better known and more competitive with other institutions of higher learning in the Philadelphia area.  In addition, she sought and achieved new goals to augment and enhance her multifaceted sense of mission.  Among these were to preserve, and perpetuate Ukrainian culture, values, and traditions, and to this end, along with Dr. Ivan Skalchuk, Dr. Stefania Pushkar, and Sister Dia Stasiuk established the Ukrainian Heritage Center at Manor College. 

Participating fully in the life of her religious community, she served on many chapter committees, both in the province and in Rome, and in 1985, was elected Provincial Superior.  It was during her ten-year tenure as Provincial that the Holy Trinity Chapel was built, and the Basilian Spirituality Center established.  Sister Miriam Claire also re-established ties with the Sisters of Saint Basil in Ukraine soon after the country proclaimed its independence in 1991. 

In 1995 Sisters’ mission took her to Canada where she earned a Certificate of University Studies in Theology, with a specialty in Eastern Christian Studies, from St. Paul University in Ottawa.

In 2006, Sister was elected as the General Superior of the Basilian Sisters worldwide, serving until 2012.  Sister traveled worldwide, visiting personally with each Basilian sister.  Returning to her own Province in Fox Chase sister again served as Motherhouse Superior until 2021. 

Sister will be missed by the Sisters in religious life, as well as her brother David, nephews and nieces.

Funeral Services

All services unless otherwise listed take place in the Sister’s Holy Trinity Chapel

Visitation: Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 4:30 – 6:15 p.m.

Parastas: Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Divine Liturgy: Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m.

Committal: Wednesday, Sept. 21 following liturgy at St. Basil’s Cemetery