Sister Alice Gleason, 88, formerly known as Sister Regina Cordium, a Holmesburg native who spent 35 years working at her alma mater, St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, died Sunday, July 21.
News of her death sparked a flood of memories and condolences on St. Hubert’s social media page.
“My heart is broken,” Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell wrote on Facebook. “An extraordinary woman who loved St. Hubert’s more than any of us. We owe her so much.”
Gleason, who grew up on Oakmont Street near Torresdale Avenue, attended elementary school at St. Leo the Great and St. Bernard. A year after graduating from St. Hubert in 1949, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community.
“When she went to St. Hubert’s, it was just the one original building on Torresdale Avenue,” said Trish Decker, the school’s institutional advancement director. “She watched the evolution of the original St. Hubert’s that she knew into what is the modern school of today.”
She taught elementary school for 13 years before coming to Archbishop Ryan High School, where she taught religion classes from 1968 to 1977. She then spent time at St. Maria Goretti High School before returning to St. Hubert in 1981.
Gleason served as a theology teacher and later transitioned into development and alumni relations at a time when that was an emerging role in Catholic high schools, according to Sister Meg Fleming, a guidance counselor at St. Hubert.
During her decades-long tenure, Gleason interacted with the daughters and granddaughters of some of her original students.
“The minute I got here I knew she was the queen of St. Hubert’s,” said Fleming, who worked alongside Gleason for four years.
“She had four loves,” she added. “Obviously, she loved God. She loved her family. She loved her community. And she loved St. Hubert’s.”
Gleason retired in 2016 and moved to Camilla Hall, the order’s retirement home in Malvern.
Her funeral was held there on Friday, and Fleming said it was one of the largest she has ever seen for an IHM sister.
St. Hubert students attended and served as an honor guard, she said. They also sang the alma mater at her burial ceremony.
“She knew she was loved because she loved so much, and people loved her back, right to the end,” Fleming said.
In addition to her IHM community, Gleason is survived by her sister-in-law Violet and many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her parents, Francis and Rose Harkins Gleason and brothers Francis J. “Buddy” (Margaret) and Joseph E.
Donations in her name may be made to Camilla Hall Nursing Home’s mission advancement department, 230 IHM Drive, Malvern, PA 19355. ••