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Winifred Sandwell, RSM (formerly Sister Mary Theodore) 92, a Sister of Mercy for 70 years died peacefully at St. Antoine Residence, North Smithfield on December 22, 2023. Winifred was the daughter of Stephen and Agnes (Livesey) Sandwell of Preston, England and New Bedford, MA. She was preceded in death by her brothers Bernard and Stephen, Jr.; her sisters Margaret (Sister Mary Conrad, RSM), Isabelle Glynn Nichols, Agnes (Sister Mary Karin, RSM), and Eileen Woods. She is survived by her sister Ruth Parcinski in Connecticut and many loving nieces and nephews.
Having grown up in New Bedford, Winifred entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cumberland in 1953 joining her two sisters. She earned A Bachelor of Education degree from Catholic Teachers College and a Master of Education from Rhode Island College. She taught elementary school in the diocese of Providence. From her first mission assignments she sought a presence where she lived and worked. She felt called to discuss the Gospel message and spiritual growth with others, leading her eventually to a long and distinguished ministry as a spiritual director and retreat coordinator.
Winifred had varied interests and opportunities for education throughout her life. In 1972 she became the medical records technician at the newly opened Mt. St. Rita Health Centre. She also volunteered at Waterman Heights Nursing Home during this time, often just being a listener for the residents. After obtaining a certificate for Accredited Record Technician from American Medical Record Association and served on the Admissions Committee at Mt. St. Rita. While pursuing these administrative ministries, her gentle manner and openness of spirit encouraged people to share their concerns with her.
In the summer of 1993, she attended a Retreat Internship Summer in Spiritual Direction at Notre Dame University, which began her discernment for her ministry of spiritual direction. The following year she enrolled in the School of Spirituality at Mercy Center (Mercy-by-the Sea) in Madison, CT, where she studied scripture and theology. Immersing herself in this study and discernment led her to “listen, discern, communicate, facilitate and enhance the spiritual growth of others.” Her ministry of spiritual direction and presence continued for the last part of her life journey. Her warm smile and kindness were a gift to all who came into her presence. On December 22, she would be met by the God she loved and served and reunited with family and Mercy community and those whose lives she touched. Her life motto said: “Unto the praise of His glory.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, December 29, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. in St. Jude Church, 301 Front Street, Lincoln. Visitation will begin at 9:15 a.m. in the Church with a Mercy Prayer Service at 9:45 a.m. Interment will be in Resurrection Cemetery, Cumberland. In place of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 15 Highland View Road, Cumberland, RI, 02864. www.sistersofmercy.org
Information and condolences please visit www.galloglyfuneralhome.com
Sisters of Mercy
15 Highland View Road, Cumberland RI 02864