During the COVID-19 Pandemic, our SJA family experienced the sudden loss of Sister Monica Fumo, SCSJA and Sister Gabriella Nguyen, SCSJA who passed away from COVID-19 complications. Although we greatly miss their physical presence and beautiful smiles, their spirit and legacy continue to inspire us every day. Their ministries — and those of all the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida — live on in the work we do to educate and empower young women.
The Sisters’ Legacy Fund supports the needs that are at the heart of the school. The Sisters always ensured that the school’s mission continued — whether the issues were anticipated or unexpected. Be it a crucial repair such as a broken boiler or adding classroom technology to enhance remote learning during these challenging times, your gift today will help SJA meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Judith Ann Fumo was born to Josephine Passarelli and Henry Fumo in Kenosha, Wisconsin on November 22, 1941. On August 28, 1960, Judy became a postulant with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida and she received the name Sr. Monica. She began her novitiate on March 25, 1961 and pronounced her perpetual vows at Regina Mundi Convent on August 15, 1970.
Sr. Monica attended Mount Mary College between 1962-1966, earning her BA degree, majoring in French and minoring in music. Sr. Monica completed her studies at Marquette University earning a Master of Arts in Education: Administration and Supervision in 1975.
Sr. Monica served the Community in many leadership positions in the province, in local communities, and on formation teams between 1965-2020. For more than 50 years, Sr. Monica served as teacher, principal, president, and key fundraiser for St. Joan Antida High School. Thanks to her efforts, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was instituted in 1990 to help parents of middle- and low-income students choose private schools for their child’s education. Her charismatic and down-to-earth personality forged lasting friendships with many students, alumnae, parents, faculty, staff, board and community members.
Between 1998-2020, Sr. Monica lived and ministered at St. Rita Convent and Parish on Milwaukee’s East side and then resided at St. Charles Borromeo Convent where she was involved in parish life and outreach. Her hospitality and generosity were shared with all.
On May 18, 2020, Sr. Monica was born to eternal life. Her Mass of Resurrection was held on September 19, 2020.
Maria Nguyen thi Trong (M. Gabrielle) was born on March 29, 1945 in North Vietnam to Nguyen Trung and Nguyen thi Bon. In 1957, at the age of 12, Maria lived and studied with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida in Savannakhet, Laos. She began her year of postulancy on July 19, 1960 and one year later she became a novice and received the name Sr. Marie Pierre. Sister pronounced perpetual vows in Laos on July 16, 1972.
Between 1962-1975, Sister was an elementary school teacher in Laos. In 1976, one year after the Communist take-over in Laos, Sr. M. Pierre and two other Sisters escaped to Thailand where they lived and ministered in a refugee camp for 13 months. The three Sisters were sponsored by the North American Province of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida. They left Thailand and arrived in Milwaukee, Wis. on October 26, 1977.
Throughout 1978-1982, Sr. Marie Pierre ministered in Amarillo, Texas to refugees from Vietnam and Laos. On February 8, 1984,Sister became a United States citizen and chose a new name: Sr. Gabriella Marie Nguyen.
During the mid-1980's, Sr. Gabriella’s ministry included working with young children at Guardian Angel Nursery and Kindergarten and St. Joan Antida Daycare Center. She also earned a high school diploma from St. Joan Antida High School.
Sr. Gabriella joined the faculty at St. Joan Antida High School in 1989, where she supervised students in many capacities and taught craft classes. She was able to listen to and encourage students to do well and to be their best selves.
The convent at St. Charles Borromeo Parish became her new home in 2006 and she spent her final years there serving this faith community. She endeared herself to the parishioners and brought Holy Communion to the elderly in health care centers near the parish. Her smile, laughter and gentle spirit touched the hearts of all.
Sr. Gabriella was born to eternal life on May 16, 2020. Her Mass of Resurrection was held on September 19, 2020.