Sister Mary Vincent Fritton, 98, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), died on March 10, 2020, in the SCL Mother House, Leavenworth, Kansas. Sister celebrated her 75th anniversary as an SCL in 2018. She entered the religious community following her college graduation and served as a Sister in a variety of educational, administrative and pastoral care assignments. She was known for a powerful operatic singing voice, a passion for Latin, a careful attention to detail, prayerful devotion, and a warm servant’s heart. She embodied the SCL characteristic virtues of simplicity, humility and charity.
Helen Lenora was born on Sept. 8, 1921 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of three daughters of Benno V. and Josephine (Zeidler) Fritton. A strong German Catholic heritage predominated on both sides of her family. She attended St. Joseph’s (Topeka) Grade School and Topeka Catholic High School before pursuing a music education degree, along with concentrations in Latin and religion, at Saint Mary College, Leavenworth. After college, Helen entered the SCL Community on Sept. 1, 1943 and professed vows as Sister Mary Vincent on March 6, 1945.
Sister Mary Vincent taught in high schools in Kansas, Montana and Colorado, where she enjoyed teaching vocals and directing choral groups. She interrupted her teaching ministry to serve one year as dean of women in the nurses’ home at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colo. Her love for people and spirituality led to a post-graduate certification in clinical pastoral education (CPE) in 1978. This training enabled her to provide pastoral care in several hospitals and Catholic ministries in succeeding years.
Sister Mary Vincent had a reputation for being thorough and careful. Her meticulous, sharp-eyed nature found expression not only in note-taking and list-making, but proofreading books, something at which she was most adept. Later in life, she aided Father Thomas Dubay, S.M., a noted spiritual theologian who wrote over 20 books on Catholic spirituality. Sister Mary Vincent proofread at least two of his works, both published by well-known Ignatius Press. In one acknowledgment, published in 1985, he writes, "Sister Mary Vincent Fritton, S.C.L., once again passed her sharp eyes over these pages and freed them of small typographical errors." Her multifaceted abilities in singing, teaching, administration, pastoral care, and proofreading were a gift to associates and friends.
Preceding Sister Mary Vincent in death were her parents and her two sisters, Cecilia Fritton Shaughnessy and Florence Fritton Kelly. Survivors include one cousin, Joe Fritton, who lives in Topeka, Kansas, and nieces and nephew.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Ross Chapel, SCL Mother House, Leavenworth. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Ross Chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020. Interment will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Mother House grounds. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 4200 S. 4th St., Leavenworth, KS 66048. Arrangements by R.L. Leintz Funeral Home, 4701 10th Ave., Leavenworth, KS 66048.