Sister Vita Marie Riccardelli, fmm
Vita Marie always wanted to be a sister and missionary and was introduced to the FMM by a Franciscan priest. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Vita Marie knew many congregations of sisters but says she did not feel comfortable with any – that is, until she walked into 45th Street and met Sr. Rita McGuiness.
Sr. Rita also welcomed Vita into the Fruit Hill Novitiate where she entered in 1960. After her first vows, Vita studied nursing in Fatima Hospital, Providence and received her LPN. She made final vows in 1966. She later went to Roslyn and while working in St. Francis Hospital, studied for her RN at a local community college.
In 1973 Vita was sent to England where at Liverpool she studied tropical diseases and then to Ireland where she studied midwifery. After this she was missioned to Ghana where Vita worked as a nurse and midwife in a government health center until 1985. After some ‘R&R’, she was missioned to the Navajo Reservation in northern New Mexico and worked at the Indian Health Hospital for next three years. There, Sr. Vita remembers how “my experience in midwifery came in quite handy”.
Vita is a lover of life. It is no surprise therefore that she had lot of enthusiasm for her work of bringing new life into the world as a midwife. She also likes sewing, embroidery and needlepoint and always has a number of projects going on at once.
in 1989 Vita was asked to join four other sisters in starting an insertion near the border of southern New Mexico. By November, she had found a position as a nurse-manager in a remote area of Chaparral, NM. After ten years in Chamberino she was recalled to Roslyn and St. Francis Hospital, in order to be near and assist her ageing parents.
For the past twelve years, Sister Vita’s ministry is as a Hospice nurse and/or at St. Francis Women’s Center.
Vita can look back on her life and truthfully say: “Lord, it is good to be here! It’s been a happy, wonderful life, every minute. It’s hard to believe that am preparing for a Golden Jubilee - wow! Fifty great years!“