Sister Hripsime (née Marie) Tcheftelian, SAS Co-Founder


RADNOR, Penn. — The Armenian Sisters Academy of Radnor mourns the passing of one of its founders, Sister Hripsime Tcheftelian. She died on February 9, at age 90, surrounded by her loving Sisters and family members.

At an early age, Sister Hripsime became a Sister of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception. She responded to any assignment with a smile and the fiat “Yes, I will.”

Born in Jounieh, Lebanon on October 17, 1926, to Arshalouys and Bedros Chiftelian, Sister Hripsime left Beirut in 1943 for the Mother House in Rome. Upon completing her religious training, she became a member of the Order in 1946. Later, she found herself back in Beirut at the Hripsimiantz Varjaran where she would remain for 13 years, teaching religion, French and mathematics. During the course of her stay, Sister Hripsime worked at the Bzommar Vank Orphanage for one year as the director.

In 1963, Sister Hripsime departed for the United States. She was among the first three Sisters to accept the assignment and challenge to start a school in the Philadelphia area. After studying English and mastering the language at Cabrini College, Sister Hripsime, along with Sister Arousiag and Sister Valentine, founded the Armenian Sisters Academy.

For 14 years, she committed her life to educating Armenian-American children. Much to the Philadelphia community’s dismay, Sister was called to Rome to be assigned as Mistress of Novices to train the postulants and novices for religious life. After four years, she returned to the United States to establish a new school in the Los Angeles area where she remained for nine years.

Elected as Vicar General, Sister Hripsime returned to Rome and served in that capacity until 2006. At the same time, she resumed her role as Mistress of Novices. In 2007, she came back to Philadelphia where she was a beacon of hope, love, and inspiration to all who knew her.

Sister Hripsime was a shining example of peace and love to so many. Her constant smile, love of God and prayerful presence remind us that all things are possible with God’s help.

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