Sister Mary Elizabeth Balthasar OSF, '54, M.S.Ed.’77, a longtime member of the Niagara University nursing faculty, passed away on Oct. 20, 2023, at the Franciscan Villa in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Buffalo, N.Y., native entered the order of the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1944, after having studied with them for a year at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Niagara Falls. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Niagara University in 1954 and joined the university’s nursing faculty. She later became assistant director of the nursing service and retired in 1995 as chair of senior nursing.

Also known as Sister Margaret John, Sister Mary Elizabeth held a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Niagara University, a master’s degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Rochester. She introduced both psychiatric-mental health nursing and topics related to aging into Niagara’s nursing program’s curriculum.

In 1982, Niagara University honored her with its Emerito Medal.

After 41 years of service to Niagara, Sister Mary Elizabeth began missionary work at Timau Catholic Dispensary in Kenya for 10 years, serving as a registered nurse and training Kenyan women as nurses.


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