Sister Charlotte Downey, R.S.M.


CUMBERLAND — Sister Charlotte Downey, 91, formerly Sister Mary Benita, a Sister of Mercy and a retired teacher, author, and international scholar, died on Sunday, Oct. 18, at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital.

Born Charlotte Josephine in Providence, a daughter of the late Joseph and Charlotte (McCarthy) Downey. Sister entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1936 and processed her vows on Aug. 16, 1942.?She taught in the elementary and high schools of the Dioceses of Fall River and Providence.

Sister earned a B.S. from the former Catholic Teachers College in Providence, a M.A. from Rhode Island College, and a M.A. and Ph.D in Linguistics from?Brown University. She taught at Eastern Connecticut State University in addition to performing research and writing at Brown University. She was the editor of the 43 volume series, ‘American Linguistics 1700-1900,’ and published a book on Emily Dickinson, and many articles on linguistics and literature. She is the author of ‘Mercy Responds to Vatican II,’ a history of the Sisters of Mercy of Providence from 1951-1991. An internationally recognized linguistics scholar, she presented a lecture at the International Congress of Linguistics in Berlin in 1985 and in 1987 she was invited to give a lecture at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

In?addition to her religious family, the Sisters of Mercy, she leaves a brother, James Downey, of Centerville, Mass. She was the sister of the late Eileen Cromwell and Joseph K. Downey.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Mt.?St.?Rita Chapel, Cumberland.