Sister Theresa Marie Kukla, SSCJ 1944-2019


Sister Theresa Marie Kukla, SSCJ, a perpetually professed Sister of the Congregation of Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, entered into eternal life on August 22, 2019, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, at UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, following a brief illness.

Born Patricia Kukla in Lilly on July 17, 1944, Sister Theresa Marie was the daughter of the late Stanley and Mary (Slebodnick) Kukla.

She leaves behind her fellow religious Sisters who loved her dearly, as well as her beloved siblings, Helen (Raymond) Campbell; Stanley (Barbara) Kukla Jr; Virginia “Jeannie” (Michael) Manness; and Priscilla Caron; as well as her nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a brother, Joseph.

Sister Theresa Marie entered the Congregation of Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on September 15, 1970, professing her first vows on June 29, 1973 and professing her perpetual vows on June 29, 1978.  She observed the Silver Jubilee of her religious profession on December 27, 1998, at Sacred Heart Province in Cresson. She was among the first Americans to enter the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, where she later served as the second provincial superior of the American Province and as a longtime Mistress of Novices and local superior. Since August 1, 2017, she resided at Saint Joseph Convent, in Munster Township, Portage, where she devotedly cared for Mother Amabilis Debicka.

Sister Theresa Marie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Saint Francis University, Loretto, and a Masters degree in Religious Education from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

Throughout her religious life, she served the glory of the Most Sacred Heart with love and zeal in the areas of education and catechesis, youth ministry and administration within the Dioceses of Altoona-Johnstown and Wheeling-Charleston. At the time of her death, Sister Theresa Marie was assigned as Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Alleghenies Parish in Lilly.

A funeral Mass was celebrated on August 28 at Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Cresson.

Committal was at Saint Francis Xavier Cemetery, Cresson, where she was laid to rest alongside her fellow departed Sisters.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sr. Theresa Marie’s memory to the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 866 Cambria Street, Cresson, PA 16630.