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Beloved Educator Passes Away After Sickness

Hyattsville's Sr. Joyce Volpini, who was the principal at the former St. Jerome's Catholic School, died July 31.

Longtime Hyattsville resident Sr. Joyce Volpini passed away July 31 after a battle with cancer.

Volpini was principal at St. Jerome’s Catholic School—now St. Jerome Academy— for over 35 years before being asked to leave by St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in 2009.

According to a Facebook post by her brother Andy, Volpini was living in Glen Arm, MD at the time of her death.

The school was going through a formal consultation by the Archdiocese of Washington. During this time, largely because of the national economic downturn, Catholic schools were closing their doors and St. Jerome's needed to make some changes to ensure the school would not be shut down.

Fr. James Stack, of St. Jerome's Church, also later asked Volpini and her fellow Notre Dame de Namur sisters to vacate the convent next to the school. A child daycare center, part of the convent, allegedly was experiencing financial hardship.

According to the church's website, Sr. Geri MacPhee is still on board as the Child Center director.

Mary Pat Donoghue, who attended the school as a child and was taught by Volpini, is now principal there.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 6 at St. Jerome's Church.

A Facebook page has been set up in tribute to Volpini and several have left comments remembering her as an understanding person who could be trusted.

Matthew D. McKnight August 08, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Why the links? Seriously, was that really necesassary in an obituary?
Alice Gambino-Graham August 08, 2011 at 03:33 PM
In defense of the writer of this artlce, whom I don't know personally, the article initially did not mention Fr. Stack. I submitted a correction to the original article to clarify that Sr. Joyce was not asked to leave by St. Jerome's Chuch, but rather he pastor. I did this because I wanted it to be clear to readers that she was loved and respected by her community. I hope my correction did not offend any fellow members of the community. My intention was to protect her character, not to spark a debate. It never occurred to me that anyone would be insensitive enough to make unkind remarks under her death notice.
Sarah Nemeth August 08, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Hi Michele, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your feelings and I'm so thankful for your thoughts on this piece. I'd love to address some of your concerns, but I'll limit this comment to the article. Someone wrote to me to ask me to post something about Sr. Joyce, who I met when I first started reporting in Hyattsville. You're right -- she was a very kind person. If you have other concerns, I encourage you to send me an email at sarahn@patch.com. I'd love to talk about this more. Take Care, Sarah Editor
Sarah Nemeth August 08, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Hi Matt, Yeah, in this case I felt it was necessary in order to provide background. This wasn't really intended to be an obituary -- more of an announcement on her passing and a bit of info on some of her recent work. I trust the comments left about her here -- and on the Facebook page dedicated to her memory -- cover all the really important stuff ;-) Sarah
Michele DiGuiseppe August 08, 2011 at 04:31 PM
No need to go to her defense, she references negative publicity and never provided anything good about what Sr. Joyce had done. She used poor judgement in providing information and says so with remarks like "I felt it necessary" and "I was aware of this and understand how sensitive an issue this is for many". Then goes on to say "she felt it best to identify it simply as a church matter as opposed to one person only". Really? What does she know about church matters? She obviously knew nothing of Fr. Stacks involvment in the decision. I can appreciate that your efforts were with good intention and it never occured to you that someone would make an insensitve remark about Sr. This article should have been about all that Sr. had done for thousand's of people and what a legend in her own time she was, but she didn't. That said, she owes this community and Sr. Joyce and her family an apology. She is the product of poor journalism and hasn't a thought of her own.

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