WEST PEORIA - Sister Mary Rita Cooney, 98, of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception, died May 6 at Mother of Peace Home in West Peoria.
She was born Helen Mary Cooney on Feb. 23, 1910, in Springfield to John and Mary Waters Cooney. She entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939 and was in her 65th year of religious profession.
For many years, Sister Mary Rita served as the housekeeper for the chaplains serving the Heading Avenue Franciscans in Peoria, and for the chaplains who served the residents and sisters at St. Joseph's Home in Springfield. In the 1940s and 1950s, she assisted the kindergarten teacher at Immaculate Conception Convent by transporting the children to daily classes. She was a housemother at Guardian Angel Home in Peoria. She served her sisters as purchaser and driver for many years. She retired to Mother of Peace Home in 1997.
Sister Mary Rita is survived by her Franciscan sisters and her nieces and nephews.
The Mass of Christian Burial was May 9 at Immaculate Conception Convent, with Father Lawrence Zurek, OFM, as celebrant, and Father William Miller, IC, as homilist. Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the retirement fund of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception.
Wright & Salmon Mortuary of Peoria was in charge of arrangements.