Sister Marie Angela Natoli, 87, former General Superior of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died Nov. 13 at Camilla Hall Nursing Home, Immaculata, Pa.
Sister Marie Angela was born in Reading, Pa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English at Immaculata University, and a master’s degree in religious studies at Villanova University in 1973.
She entered the Congregation in 1948, professed first vows in 1951 and made perpetual profession in 1954. She spent most of her years as a teacher, first in elementary school and then as teacher of English, history, and theology in various high schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Allentown.
In 1962, Sister Marie Angela was awarded the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Teacher Award. She received an honorary doctoral degree from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2000.
She served as the directress of formation in the IHM Novitiate in Santiago, Chile, and as a participant in the establishment of Villa Maria Junior College in Lima, Peru. The Latin American missions remained close to her heart throughout her life.
From 1988 to 1994, Sister Marie Angela held the position of sister assistant to Mother Marie Genevieve Lawler, General Superior. In 1994, Sister Marie Angela was elected to a six-year term as general superior of the congregation. During her tenure, she called the sisters of the congregation to a deeper understanding of their charism and to their identity as women religious through their lives in community and in their ministries of Catholic education and pastoral work, particularly outreach to the poor.
At the completion of her term in 2000, Sister Marie Angela was appointed superior of Gillet Hall, the faculty residence for the teaching sisters at Immaculata University. She remained there until her retirement to Camilla Hall in 2012.
Sister Marie Angela was a gracious, gentle, reflective woman of prayer with a keen mind and the ability to integrate the secular with the spiritual. She was a servant leader whose humble, quiet ways inspired her sisters to live their religious commitment in hope and joy.
Sister Marie Angela is survived by her sister, Camellia R. Natoli of Reading; nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her parents, Thomas J. and Mariana (Stella) Natoli, her brothers Salvatore J. and Charles T., and her sister Sebastiana (Leonard) Smolinski.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 21 at Sacred Heart Chapel, Villa Maria House of Studies, Immaculata. The principal celebrant of the Mass was the Rt. Rev. Richard J. Antonucci, O.Praem, Abbot of Daylesford Abbey; Redemptorist Father John M. Hamrogue, of Immaculate Conception Parish, Bronx, N.Y., gave the homily.