Sister C. Elizabeth Sokel, SSND
July 31, 1928 – Dec. 6, 2020
“On July 31, 1928, God presented to Edwin Cornelius and Catherine Mary Livingston Sokel a baby girl” who was named Catherine Elizabeth. They lived in St. Mary’s Govans Parish, Baltimore, Md. The Sokel family increased in size and happiness with the births of Margaret and Edwin.
Elizabeth began school at St. Mary’s Govans and had the School Sisters of Notre Dame as her teachers. She received her first Holy Communion in May, 1936 and was confirmed by Archbishop Michael J. Curley in 1938. As an eighth grader, Elizabeth attended a vocation club given by the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart. There she learned about many religious orders and was first “inclined to the religious life.”
Elizabeth’s high school years (1942-1946) were spent at the Institute of Notre Dame where she said, “the good example of the Sisters and my own personal observation of their life influenced me greatly.” By her senior year, Elizabeth had made the decision “to enter the School Sisters of Notre Dame.” While she was employed as an office clerk for a year after graduation, Elizabeth said, “My desire to become a religious increased with each new day.”
On Aug. 28, 1947, Elizabeth received the candidate’s bonnet in the Chapel of the Institute of Notre Dame. She was happy in the candidature as a student in the Teacher Training School and later teaching third grade at St. Anselm’s School, Brooklyn N.Y. The seeds of her vocation were “cultivated and nourished” during this time.
Elizabeth was received as a novice on July 16, 1949 and was given the name, Sister Marie Edwin. She professed her first vows on Aug. 3, 1950. She said that the one desire of her heart was, with God’s grace, to be a good religious.
Sister Marie Edwin taught primary grades for about ten years at St. Joseph School, Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y. and St. John School, Westminster, Md. She moved to St. Margaret School, Bel Air, Md. as principal as well as teacher. Sister was the principal at St. John School, Hydes, Md. then Mt. Calvary School, Washington, D.C. at two different times.
In 1988, Elizabeth was assigned to St. Thomas Acquinas School, Baltimore for first, then third grade. She loved St. Thomas Acquinas School and Parish. While there Betty took on many roles. Her life began and ended with caring. She took every opportunity to reach out to shut-ins at home and in-care centers, to help with the school choir, and to assist in the parish office. Betty was always there when comfort and support were needed. Little children loved her, attracted by her quiet demeanor. A hidden talent was revealed in her love for Irish step dancing.
Sister Betty’s family was very important to her. She is survived by her sister, Margaret Richardson, and brother, Edwin C. Sokel, Jr.; nieces, Kathleen Kerrigan, Joanne Vendetti, Kim Irwin, and nephews, Lawrence and Timothy Richardson and Eric and Brian Sokel. She is also survived by grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.
Sister Betty died peacefully with a smile on her face. It was the evening of Dec. 6, 2020. She had enjoyed dinner and a short walk. Sister Betty enjoyed walking and usually could be seen saying her rosary as she made her paces.
Sister Betty was buried with a graveside service at Villa Maria Cemetery, Glen Arm Rd., Glen Arm, Md. on Friday, Dec. 11. A Memorial Mass celebrating the life of Sister Betty will be held at a later date.