East Williston nun turns 110, becoming oldest in nation

East Williston nun turns 110, becoming oldest in nation
Sister Francis Piscatella, of East Williston, celebrating her 108th birthday on April 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville)

Sister Francis Piscatella, an East Williston resident and member of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Amityville, turned 110 years old April 20 to become the oldest nun in America.

She succeeded Vincent de Paul Hutton of Kentucky, who died in December at 111 years old, according to the Dominican Sister of Peace.

“I’d like to be the youngest,” Piscatella told the media during a special mass at St. Albert Chapel at Queen of Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville, according to ABC7, “But the years are there so I’ll have to accept them.”

Born in Central Islip on April 20, 1913, Piscatella has survived both world wars, the Great Depression, and now two worldwide health pandemics: Spanish flu and COVID-19.

Sister Piscatella’s life has not lacked adversity, starting with her left forearm being amputated when she was just 2 years old after a train accident, according to Newsday.

Piscatella joined the Dominicans in 1931 after being turned away from several other religious communities due to her disability. As a young nun, Piscatella earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at St. John’s University before becoming a grade school math teacher in Brooklyn.

Piscatella taught in many local elementary schools and was in the classroom at the Dominican Commercial High School in Queens for 17 years, according to the religious institution. She also spent 52 years teaching at Molloy College and worked at its Financial Aid Office before retiring at the age of 84.
Piscatella, who moves around with the help of a wheelchair, walker or cane, goes to Mass daily and prays for 35 minutes before breakfast, according to Newsday.
“As our religious congregation celebrates its 170th anniversary, it is remarkable to note that Sister Francis has served as a sister for more than half of our history,” said Peggy McVetty, prioress of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville.
Piscatella currently lives in East Williston with fellow Sister Franic Daniel Kammer, 83, who was her student, according to the religious institution.
“Sister Francis represents the living story of our congregation,” said McVetty. “We are humbled and blessed by her life of constant prayer, meaningful relationships, selfless giving, and tenacious spirit.”

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