Birth: August 1, 1917
Profession: July 30, 1947
Death: September 9, 2012
Religious of the Sacred Heart Mary Elizabeth Tobin, wise mentor, international and local leader, educator, and spiritual director, died at Teresian House in Albany, New York, on Sunday, September 9, 2012. An extraordinary model of how to live religious life, she loved life and was always ready to take on a new challenge. She will be remembered at a Mass of Christian Burial at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, September 14 at Teresian House. Visitation will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the chapel. Burial will be in the Kenwood cemetery in Albany.
Maribeth Tobin was born August 1, 1917, in Albany, New York, to Charles J. and Sara Devitt Tobin. She loved her city of Albany, and was happy to spend her final days there after a lifetime of ministry elsewhere. Sister Tobin was an alumna of Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany. She made her First Communion there and entered the Society of the Sacred Heart there, on June 18, 1939. She made her final vows on July 30, 1947, at the Society of the Sacred Heart motherhouse in Rome, Italy.
Sister Tobin was predeceased by her brothers Charles Tobin and Edmund Tobin, and sister, Alice Tobin O’Brien. She is remembered with fond affection by many loving nieces and nephews, Religious of the Sacred Heart around the world, former students and colleagues and the staff and residents at Teresian House, where she was a warm welcoming figure.
In positions of leadership most of her adult life, Sister was always straightforward, honest and often challenging, but her predominant characteristics were an intense interest in the person she was with and a passion to serve.
From 1942 until 1961 Sister Tobin served as teacher and principal in Sacred Heart schools in Washington, DC; Noroton, Connecticut; Bethesda, Maryland, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1961-64, she was local superior for the Society of the Sacred Heart in Philadelphia. She had just been assigned to be superior for the Princeton, New Jersey community in 1964 when she was called to serve as assistant general of the international Society of the Sacred Heart in Rome. She was responsible for dialogue and communication with all English-speaking RSCJ throughout the world during the post-Vatican II years of change, a particularly critical time for the Society of the Sacred Heart.
She returned from Rome in 1970 to serve as director of public relations and alumnae relations for Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda. From 1975 to 1989, she worked as spiritual director and counselor in retreat centers in Boston and Washington, D.C. Sister Tobin also served as the administrator for the Society of the Sacred Heart retirement community in St. Charles, Missouri, 1985-92. She was for many a pillar of strength, love, profound spirituality, and grounding wisdom. Even to her death she was full of life and deep love and fidelity for the Society.
The closing Kenwood in 2008 was personally difficult for Sister Tobin, and she truly appreciated the loving welcome the Sacred Heart Sisters received at Teresian House. She was deeply grateful for the love and care she received and wanted the staff and administrators to know her deep gratitude for being able to thrive as she lived her last days at Teresian House.
An alumna of Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany, Sister Tobin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Manhattanville College in 1938 and a Masters in guidance and counseling from Fordham University in 1953. She received a certificate in Spirituality from the Jesuit School of Theology at Loyola University, Chicago, in 1975.