2 sibling sisters die a day apart

Jan. 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM

MENANDS, N.Y., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Two sisters who became Catholic nuns in the Daughters of Charity order died last week only a day apart in an upstate New York retirement home.

Sister Jean Marie Wheeler, 98, and Sister Elaine Wheeler, 96, are to be buried Thursday at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, N.Y., the Times Union of Albany reported. Jean Marie died last Thursday and her sister on Friday.

"They were remarkable women, very different in their own ways, but also very close," said Sister Joanne Donovan, director of Saint Louise House in Menands.

The two sisters are the last survivors of a family of seven girls who grew up in New York City's Bronx borough. Five of the Wheeler sisters became nuns.

They mostly spent their lives in the Albany area as teachers. The five Wheeler sisters spent summer vacations together in a cottage on a Daughters of Charity property.

"They did everything together and if you met one Wheeler sister, you knew all the Wheeler sisters," Donovan said.

Sister Elaine was asked in 1979 to straighten out the Daughters of Charity provincial archives. What was supposed to be a six-month job turned into a second career and she traveled as far afield as Australia to help other provinces.

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