Sr. Frances Chirco, IHM, died Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 at her home, the IHM Senior Living Community.
Frances Pauline Chirco was born Jan. 5, 1928 to Italian-born parents, Salvatore and Eva (Cipriano) Chirco. With her three brothers, young Frances attended St. Catherine grade and high schools, graduating in 1945. She entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe and received the religious name Sister Mary Pierre.
Early teaching experience began in Michigan at Sacred Heart (Dearborn and Roseville), St. Matthew and Holy Trinity (Detroit), Immaculate Heart (Glenn Lake) and St. Joseph and Hall of the Divine Child (Monroe). Her own education included a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College and a master’s degree from the University of Detroit.
In 1969, Sister Frances was missioned to Puerto Rico and taught at Santa Teresita (Santurce) and Colegio Regional de Ponce (Ponce). She always shared her interest in mission work and helping the poor, improving the lives of those to whom she ministered. She tutored non-English-speaking students so they may have greater success in their studies. She returned to Michigan in 1973, spending the year teaching at East Catholic High School (Detroit).
Her later career focused on parish ministry and religious education in Spanish-speaking communities, first for several years at Cristo Rey Center (Fremont, Ohio) and for ten years at St. Isidore (Macomb, Mich.).
For many years after, Sr. Frances pursued adult outreach in education, Hispanic, and pastoral ministries at Sacred Heart (Roseville) and St. Catherine and Our Lady of Grace (Detroit). When living in Roseville, she cared for her elderly mother until her death at age 100. Sister Frances then “retired” and moved to Sebring, Fla., where she volunteered in pastoral and hospital ministry at St. Catherine parish, and often taught course in English as a Second Language.
Sister Fran is survived by brother Joseph, niece and nephew, and her sisters in community. She was preceded in death by her brothers Peter and Sam.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel on Friday, Sept. 24. The services will be Livestreamed beginning at 10 a.m. and may be viewed until Oct.15, 2021. A Green Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Rupp Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the IHM Retirement Fund, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, MI 48162-7909.
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