Sister Samuel Azzolina, 1912-2013

Born April 12, 1912, Mayberry, West VirginiaEntered St. Walburg Monastery,
September 15, 1940
Received habit, June 30, 1941
First Profession, July 1, 1942
Died January 15, 2013

            Sister Samuel Azzolina, OSB was born to Salvadore and Carmella (Leone) Azzolina in Mayberry, WV on April 12, 1912 and given the name Josephine at her baptism. Immigrants from Sicily, her parents were blessed with five daughters of whom Josephine was second. Tragedy struck in 1923 with the mother’s death. A desperate father received help from a priest friend who directed him to Villa Madonna Academy, a Kentucky boarding school. There Sr. Vincentia welcomed the grieving family but could provide only for the four older children. The youngest was placed in the care of an aunt. These were memorable and happy days for the children. Eventually Mr. Azzolina moved from West Virginia to Florida accompanied by four of the children.

In Florida Josephine, called Joey by her family, cared for the younger children until September 15, 1940 when she became a postulant at St. Walburg Monastery. There her older sister was now Sr. Carmella. On June 30, 1941 Josephine became a novice, Sister Samuel. She made first and perpetual professions in 1942 and 1945; silver, golden and diamond jubilees occurred in 1967, 1992 and 2002.

Sr. Samuel brought many of the skills she used in the classroom from her earlier training and experience. She received a BA from Villa Madonna College in 1945. Business skills, sewing. and language were her fields in secondary education. She taught in several schools in the diocese but served the longest at Holy Cross in varying capacities –teaching, library and study hall supervision. Sr. Samuel retired officially in 2006 when she moved from Holy Cross Parish to the monastery.

It is difficult to think of Sr. Samuel without including in that same thought her beloved sister, Sr. Carmella. They were devoted to each other with the deepest of ties—family and community. Everyone who knew them will remember them together.

Sr. Samuel died peacefully in the infirmary the morning of January 15, 2013. Surviving Sr. Samuel are her sisters, Sr. Carmella, Anna McIntosh, Pauline Young, devoted nieces, nephews and friends, and the Benedictine community. Her sister Julia Lovett died in 2009.

Vigil for Sister Samuel was held on Sunday, January 20 and Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, January 21. Burial follows in St. Walburg Cemetery.