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Sister Miriam Carmel Pontieri, SNJM
Sister of the Holy Names Miriam Carmel Pontieri died October 1 at South Hill Village, Spokane. She was 98.
Christened Eleanor Mary, she was born to Luigi Pontieri and Lucia Gallicano on June 3, 1922, in Spokane, where she was a member of St. Aloysius Parish. She attended Logan Elementary, graduated from North Central High School and began attending Holy Names College in Spokane. She entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names at Marylhurst, Oregon, on July 25, 1943, received her holy habit and religious name on February 5, 1944, and pronounced her vows August 5, 1945.
Her ministry began with high school students at St. Mary’s Academy in Medford, Oregon. For 25 years, she taught at Sisters of the Holy Names’ academies and colleges in California, Oregon and Washington. In the early 1970s, she began her ministry as a director of retreats and spiritual director, a ministry she actively continued until recently. Her natural gifts as teacher and mentor grew with the ministerial opportunities she was given as moderator for the sodalities at the academies and colleges where she taught, and the impact of Vatican II’s encouragement of the study of Sacred Scripture. She began her tenure at Immaculate Heart Retreat House as director of retreats. She collaborated with Jesuit Father Armand Nigro in directing retreats, especially for women religious; their work took them as far as Australia. She next served on staff of the Mater Dei Institute for women religious housed at Marian Hall.
She moved to the Convent of the Holy Names on in 2005; in 2014 she moved to South Hill Village when the convent was sold. On September 12, 2020, she celebrated her 75th jubilee with a livestreamed Mass celebrated by Bishop William Skylstad.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Lucian and Louis; and sisters, Florence Pontieri and Carmel Pontieri Johnstone. She is survived by her grandniece Laurel Henderson, other nieces and nephews and their extended families, the spiritual directees with whom she continued to journey, and her religious community, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and Affiliates. Funeral services are pending.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR 97036.