Funeral services honoring Sr. Jacinta’s life will be held privately.
Sr. M. Jacinta was the sixth of nine children born to Vito and Gerolama Cusumano, who had emigrated from Italy to the United States, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. Vito managed to secure a small cart from which he raised and sold produce to the people of his neighborhood. Eventually he was able to own and manage his own store. At the age of twenty-four, Josephine discovered her call to religious life; she applied and joined the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in the spring of 1945 at our American Provincialhouse in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
Sr. M. Jacinta was one of a trio of postulants who entered together and remained together in faithful and dedicated service to our Carmel DCJ. Sr. M. Regina and Sr. Mary Elizabeth preceded her in death several years ago; now they are a trio again celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection with Him in person! Sr. M. Regina often told the story of Sr. Jacinta’s first night in Carmel when she awakened her saying that she heard the train passing by and that she wanted to go home right then and there! Sr. encouraged her to “wait until morning”. After much coaxing, Sister agreed to “try it” for another day….which ended up being 77 years!
After her First Profession, Sr. Jacinta remained in Wauwatosa to care for the little boys at our home which was attached to the Provincialhouse. She often spoke about her joy in this ministry; and after many years, “her boys”, then grand-pas, would visit her wherever she was stationed. After her service with children, a new and very different apostolate was assigned to her- it was to the elderly at St. Joseph’s Home of St. Raphael in West Allis. Here she began a long and fruitful journey among God’s aged men and women that would continue until her death. She was local superior in West Allis and truly “mothered” both the aged residents and the sisters in the community as well. When government regulations became more stringent and major restructuring of St. Joseph’s Home were required, it became necessary to sell this beautiful structure. This was a heartbreaking conclusion to the many years of love and concern that Sr. Jacinta had poured forth on the hundreds of elderly people that she cared for in this facility. From West Allis, another home for the aged was assigned to her: St. Joseph’s Home in Kenosha. This was in 1985 and Sister was to spend all her remaining years in Carmel DCJ in this work of love for our aged guests.
One pronounced virtue that Sr. M. Jacinta displayed was her loyalty to our superiors. Truly she was one who “rejoiced with those who rejoice and wept with those who weep”! She shouldered the burdens of those in authority through her constant prayers- always solicitous for their health of mind and body. For thirty-six years she stayed at the side of Sr. Mary Emmanuel, praising her leadership to our staff and our elderly sick residents at St. Joseph’s Home. Sister had a mother’s heart that reached out from her wheelchair to those around her. Their problems became her own and they, in turn, responded with gratitude. She will be missed!
Sr. M. Jacinta rejoiced in being “Mary’s child”. Her name honors the little girl who was blessed with many visions of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, and who died at the age of nine years. Of course, we cannot forget to mention her great devotions to St. Father Joseph with whom she held an on-going conversation throughout her religious life!