As we approach the Feast of Christ the King and the end of the Church’s liturgical year, our Sister Tecla quietly made her way to the King’s Court and the end of her earthly life. It was shortly before midnight on November 15, while the nurse stepped out to get some medication, that Sister Tecla responded to the divine invitation with her song: “Alaboré a Mi Seńor” (Praise to my Lord!).
Sister Tecla was born in Mansfield, Ohio, on March 21, 1923, to the late Anna Santos and Lester J. Snyder, and baptized Thekla Adilla Snyder, at St. Peter’s Church. She was the third of five children: her brother Frederick, sisters Florence and Lucille (all deceased) and her sister Elizabeth who resides in Mansfield, Ohio. After attending Hedges Grade School and Mansfield Senior High School, Tecla, inspired and encouraged by the Joliet Franciscans teaching at St. Peter’s, entered the postulancy of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate on September 4, 1940. Tecla completed her senior year in high school and graduated from St. Francis Academy in 1941. Entering the novitiate in August of 1941, Tecla was given the name Sister Mary Cephas. Two years later she made her first profession, and in 1946 pronounced her final vows to which she has been faithful for these past 70 years.