Sister Marie Bernarde Procknal RSM, died January 23, 2019, at Mercy Center Convent in Buffalo after 73 years as a dedicated Sister of Mercy.
The former Frances Teresa was born July 17, 1927, to the late Andrew J. and Rose Mary (Wilezak) Procknal in Buffalo in what is known as the First Ward; Frances attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help School on O'Connell Ave. and enjoyed life with fourteen brothers and sisters. After attending Mount Mercy Academy in South Buffalo, she answered the call to Religious Life and entered the Sisters of Mercy on October 2, 1946. On August 15, 1950, she professed her vows.
While teaching at St. Ambrose, Holy Family, St. Brigid and St. Teresa schools and ministering in other education ministries Sister Marie Bernarde earned a Bachelor of Arts from Niagara University, Masters in Education from Canisius College, Career and Guidance Certification from Boston University, certification in Administration and Supervision at SUNY Plattsburg and credits in Pastoral Ministry from Notre Dame University.
As a teacher, principal, guidance and career counselor, Sister Marie Bernarde's enthusiasm and energetic attitude was an example to all; excitement was transmitted to students and peers with "an idea a day" challenge. Christian values were integrated into all phases of ministry and activity. After 63 years in education ministry and volunteering as coordinator of the beatification of South Buffalo project, especially on McKinley Parkway around the traffic circles, Sister Marie Bernarde devoted her time to prayer ministry. Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski, Rep. Brian Higgins and Comptroller Mark Schroeder each acknowledged her service to the South Buffalo Community with New York Assembly Citations, outstanding service award was presented by the McKinley Parkway Business Association. Sister Marie Bernarde was named Grand Marshall for the annual Parade of Circles on McKinley Parkway. Additional recognition was given by Mount Mercy Academy as Sister Marie Bernarde's name was placed in the Sports Hall of Fame, and Trocaire College recognized Sister Marie Bernade's years of service at their annual Reflections Dinner.
Sister Marie Bernarde is predeceased by her parents and her siblings Stephen, Andrew, Joseph, Rose, Estelle Hassett, John, Mary Lakeman, Ann O'Leary, Francis, Veronica Rosar, Michael, Margaret Grochow, Josephine Nowadly and Richard. She is survived by in-laws Peter Nowadly , Connie Procknal and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 26 at Mercy Center. Burial Followed at Holy Cross Cemetery.