Sister Thomas’ jovial kindness and compassion made her beloved by all the people in the South Bronx. She was widely known as the ‘Bronx Bombshell,’ because of her energy and exuberance.
Sister Miriam Thomas, who also called herself Sister Trude because of her baptismal name, Gertrude, was born on August 3, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, to Gertrude De Gennaro and Thomas Collins. She was one of two children and always remained close to her younger brother Thomas, who predeceased her in 1999. Trude attended Saint Mary Star of the Sea School and Bishop McDonnell High School in Brooklyn. After graduating, she entered the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1951 and received her BA in History from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Sister Thomas began her ministry in the field of education, teaching primary grades in Ascension School, Manhattan, and middle grades in Saint Athanasius School in the Bronx. In 1967 Sister Thomas left the classroom and became a community service worker in Saint Athanasius Parish. From 1972 to 2004 she worked as the administrator of the multi-service center called SISDA, Simpson Street Development Association. Her work in Saint Athanasius Parish continued until early 2013 as the director of a community outreach program.
Sister Thomas’ jovial kindness and compassion made her beloved by all the people in the South Bronx. She was widely known as the “Bronx Bombshell,” because of her energy and exuberance. She worked closely with the people, helping them to meet their needs. She became actively involved in local politics and won a seat on the Hunt’s Point Community Corporation. As a result of her work and dedication to SEBCO, Southeast Bronx Community Organization, an affordable housing development on Southern Boulevard was named the “Sister Thomas, S.C. Apartments” in her honor. Sister Thomas has been the recipient of numerous awards for her service to the community, among them being named one of the outstanding women of the Bronx in 2012.
Sister Thomas was a fun-loving and outgoing person who took great delight in entertaining and emceeing shows for the sisters. Saint Patrick’s Day at the Convent of Mary the Queen will be a different experience without “our Trude?.” She will be sorely missed by the Sisters of Charity as well as by her many, many friends and neighbors in Saint Athanasius Parish.
Rest in peace, Sister Trude, as you rejoice in the presence of your God whom you served so well.
DATE OF DEATHMarch 20, 2014
WAKEConvent of Mary the Queen, Yonkers, Saturday, March 22nd, 2:30 to 8:00 PM; Vigil Service at 6:30 PMSaint Athanasius Church, 878 Tiffany Street, Bronx, NY 10459, Sunday, March 23, 2014, 3:00 to 8:00 PM; Prayer Service at 5:30 PM
FUNERAL MASSSaint Athanasius Church, Monday, March 24, 2014, 10:30 AM
BURIALSaint Joseph’s Cemetery,Yonkers, New York
St. Athanasius School 1962–67, Teacher, Gr. 5 & 7
St. Athanasius Parish1967–72, Community Service Worker2004–13, Director, Comm. Outreach ProgramSimpson St. Development Association1972–2004, Administrator, Multi-Serv. Center
St. Athanasius Parish2004–13, Director, Comm. Outreach Program
Ascension School1954–62, Teacher, Gr. 1 & 3