Sister M. Valentina Sheridan (Theresa), RSM died peacefully in her sleep on January 14, 2020, at Mercy Convent in Savannah, Georgia.
Born on June 29, 1931, in Macon, Georgia, to Valentino and Theresa Cassidy Sheridan. Sr. Valentina is preceded in death by her parents and her brothers - Valentino, Richard and Donal. She is survived by large family of nephews, nieces, cousins and her religious community of the Sisters of Mercy and many dear and longtime faithful friends, both near and far.
Sister Valentina attended St. Joseph’s elementary school and Mount de Sales Academy, both Sisters of Mercy schools in Macon, Georgia. She graduated from Mount St. Agnes College in 1957 and later attended the University of Dayton.
Sister Valentina entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy on September 8, 1949. She attributed her religious calling to her grandfather “Poppa” who would take her to daily mass in Macon, then go and visit the sick afterwards. She would recall: “He had such a lovely way of speaking to people. He was my inspiration for religious life.”
After taking final vows on August 16, 1955, Sister “Val” worked as an elementary school teacher at various schools in Baltimore, Maryland and Macon then, went on to become an elementary school principal in Augusta and Atlanta. From this jumping off point in 1974, Sister Val took on the responsibility of being the Superintendent of Elementary Education for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia. Her magnetic personality and gracious smile endeared her to all she met. She loved working with various diverse groups as the position required and soon felt a calling to take her vocation to another avenue.
In 1980, Sister Val took on a new role that would be her new career. She worked as the Pastoral Assistant at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Roswell, Georgia. She loved being with the members of the parish in their joys and sorrows. Later in 1987, she was the Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Parish in Decatur, Georgia and later became the Parish Administrator. Sr. Val was never one to lose a friend and these parishioners were faithful to her and often traveled to Mercy Convent in Savannah to visit with her years later.
Considering these wonderful experiences, she took a further path for her religious life. She went to the Franciscan Health System in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to become a hospital chaplain. From there, Sr. Val became a fixture for Pastoral Care at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, serving from 1995-2015. Sister Val walked the halls and was a messenger of light, consolation and hope.
Sister Val, being tall and regal, with a warm smile, was welcomed in by staff and patients alike. She would offer a prayer, a joke or a smile-whatever was needed. She had a special knack for knowing what was needed, not unlike her grandfather “Papa”, those many years ago. Her infectious laugh and warm wit endeared her to all, and she met many people from all walks of life including the late Mother Teresa.
Sister retired from full time Pastoral Care at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, in 2015 and moved to Mercy Convent in Savannah, where she again took up her role this time as part-time Pastoral Care at Saint Joseph’s Candler Health System before permanently retiring in 2017. “I love it here. I’m glad I made the move.”
Upon her retirement, Wilton D. Gregory, the Archbishop of Atlanta wrote to her: “God has blessed you with a superb vocation, spanning the whole spectrum of Church life-religious life, community life, education, administration, health and human services-you have grown in the Lord, to ultimately exercise a gentle but firm authority, put in you by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and well-tempered by the gentle love and outpouring generosity of the same Jesus Christ.”
Viewing will be held Thursday, January 16th from 5:00PM until 7:00PM with Holy Rosary at 6:00PM at Saint Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 11500 Middle Ground Road, Savannah, GA. Mass of Christian burial will be on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 10:00 am at Saint Frances Cabrini Church, Savannah, Ga. Interment will be at Friday, January 17, 2020 at 4:00PM at Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, The Sisters of Mercy at Mercy Convent 11801 McAuley Drive, Savannah, GA. 31419.
Please visit www.hartsmort.com to express condolences.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by Baker McCullough Funeral Home Savannah. Interment will be handled by Hart’s on Cherry Street, Hart's Mortuary and Cremation Center, 765 Cherry Street, Macon, GA 31201 has charge of the arrangements.
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Emory St. Joseph's Hospital, The Sisters of Mercy at Mercy Convent
11801 McAuley Dr., Savannah GA 31419