Baney Family Tree

Baney FamilyFamily members who attended or graduated from Immaculata

  • Marie Gable Flanagan ’28
  • Agnes Gable Walsh ’30
  • Sr. Margaret Mary Baney ’33, IHM, Ph.D.
  • Louise Stief ’46
  • Sister Mary of Peace Slater ’47
  • Joan Baney Cattie ’48
  • Ruth Ann McCahon Baney ’59, ’93 M.A.
  • Mary Anne Callan Trimber ’60
  • Kathy McHale Flanagan ’61
  • Kathleen Flanagan McIlvaine ’62
  • Mary Catherine Slater ’63
  • Mary Louise McCahon Noone ’65
  • Catherine Hooten Bolger ’72
  • Mary Hooten Green ’76
  • Mary O’Hora Deasey ’82
  • Ann Baney Efstathion ’82
  • Roseanne Hooten White ’83
  • Mary Ellen Baney Carnuccio ’88
  • Cecelia Trimber Gilliam ’91
  • Domenic Carnuccio ’97 M.A.
  • Danielle Cattie
  • Sister Miriam Consilia Devine
  • Joe Flanagan
  • Mimi Flanagan
  • Judy Sims
  • Sister Agnes Francis Slater
  • Sister Natalie Slater
  • Dorothy Trimber
  • Margaret Trimber

The Baney family tree is rooted in faith and knowledge, and many members of the family have been nourished intellectually and spiritually by their education at Immaculata. Their time at the school stretches across seven decades, and their studies span multiple fields, but their stories include common themes of growth and productive work. For two of them, a romance sprinkled with miracles grew out of their connection with Immaculata. For all of them, Immaculata cultivated both their character and their careers.

SISTER MARGARET MARY BANEY, IHM

Sister Margaret Mary Baney ’33, IHM, Ph.D., laid down roots in faith and scholarship that have nourished both her family and the Immaculata family. At Immaculata, she earned a bachelor’s in Latin and English and was awarded a doctoral fellowship at Catholic University of America where she completed her Ph.D. in Latin and Greek.

She returned to Immaculata in 1947 and served for 23 years, taking on roles such as professor of Latin, registrar, and dean. “During this time,” she wrote, “I knew every student in the college for whom I now pray daily for their spiritual, physical, and material needs.” Her brother, too, was involved in the spiritual formation of the community. Father John Baney was an assistant chaplain at the Motherhouse, well-liked by the novices who knew him.

Sister “was very scholarly,” remembered one of her students, Sister Marie Hubert Kealy, IHM, Ph.D., now an IU professor of English. Other teachers would avoid discussing the vulgar passages in classical texts, Sister Marie Hubert said, “but you know that every girl in the class read [them] anyway!” Instead, Sister Margaret Mary “would take the work as it was, in a scholarly manner, and we would deal with whatever the topic was as it came up.”

Sister’s scholastic excellence was widely recognized, but she maintained a humble attitude. “The honors I have received I attribute to God and my education at Immaculata College,” she wrote. She was named an Outstanding Educator of America and was invited to join the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. She served on the Executive Board of the National Catholic Educational Association and on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Latin Curriculum Committee.

She wrote numerous articles and frequently spoke at educational association meetings. Her book Witness: One Response to Vatican II, describes the IHM Congregation’s successes and challenges in the first 20 years following the Council.

Despite these many academic achievements, Sister considered her most memorable honor to be a religious one. At the Mass of Canonization of St. John Neumann in 1977, she participated in the offertory procession and presented the gifts to Pope Paul VI.

Sister Margaret Mary died in 2006 in the 71st year of her religious vocation. Her family and students remember her for her brilliance and genuine interest in their lives. “Sometimes people with great brilliance are off-putting in the classroom, because they talk to the clouds and not to the students,” Sister Marie Hubert said. “But she engaged the students, and in my view, she was a real scholar, because she could make us love what she loved.”

RUTH ANN MCCAHON BANEY

Ruth Ann McCahon Baney ’59, ’93 M.A. first knew Sister Margaret Mary as the registrar at Immaculata, who knew that her nephew Bill was Ruth Ann’s boyfriend.

As a home economics and nutrition major, Ruth Ann and her classmates lived in “Practice House,” now the Bruder Center, and took on different responsibilities “to experience firsthand living and participating in a family setting.” Some of what they learned to do was a little idealistic—Ruth Ann smiled remembering how she tied bows around stacks of clean towels, which wasn’t exactly a high priority after she had her own children. But, she said, “there were many things I recalled from that time that influenced my future as a parent and homemaker.”

After she graduated, Ruth Ann married Bill and had two daughters, Ann and Mary Ellen. She began to serve at their school, first as a volunteer and then as a substitute teacher. “I realized that that was my calling,” she said. She felt a particular connection with children who had special needs, so she earned a special education degree from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University.

During her 25-year teaching career, Ruth Ann focused on “teaching the whole child.” Many of her students were from single-parent families and didn’t have as many adults to nurture them. So Ruth Ann got their parents’ permission and took them to get library cards, to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, and other “little extras,” she said. “When you see them around later, you know you made a difference.”

Wanting to improve her skills even further, Ruth Ann returned to Immaculata for a master’s in counseling and took that training back to the classroom. “Obtaining a counseling degree strengthened my ability to assist those children in finding success in a school setting,” she said.

Another of Ruth Ann’s abilities is music. She sang in the choir at Immaculata, and she has been involved with the Jubilate Deo Chorale and Orchestra since it was founded 20 years ago in Camden, NJ by Monsignor Louis Marucci and his brother Monsignor Carl Marucci. Ruth Ann started out singing soprano and later helped with production and administration. The group has had the honor of performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Sistine Chapel.

“It’s a true marriage of music and spirituality,” Ruth Ann said. “The musical selections of the Jubilate Deo Chorale & Orchestra are both classical and popular and always presented with a spiritual approach. Our mission is to combine both as a means of ministering to our varied audiences.”

ANN BANEY EFSTATHION

At first, Ann Baney Efstathion ’82 resisted the prospect of going to Immaculata, since her mother and great-aunt had gone there. But the school’s small size and the athletic reputation of the Mighty Macs made her eventually come around to the idea.

With her interest in sports and health, Ann majored in home economics with a focus on dietetics. She found it fascinating to see how nutrition therapy alleviated certain diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition to taking classes about the science of nutrition, Ann took a cooking lab class. “I was terrible at that!” she said, remembering some muffins she made that somehow ended up with tunnels inside.

Fortunately, Immaculata “was a safe place to try some things out,” Ann said. “I felt like I could make a mistake and it would be OK.” Encouragement from Immaculata’s small academic community made her comfortable enough to take risks in other settings.

Ann also felt encouraged spiritually at Immaculata. “The priest’s sermons were very applicable to life for a college student,” she said. “It was reinforced how God can help you in your everyday living as a young person.”

Ann carried this reassurance with her when she got her master’s in nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions in Boston. While she was still doing her graduate internship, her adviser asked if she was interested in teaching an introductory nutrition course at a local university.

“You just have to say yes before you’re too scared to say no,” Ann said. She wasn’t much older than her students, but she drew on her confidence-building experiences at Immaculata and her faith in God’s help.

Now, in her part-time job with an outpatient oncology unit at Tufts Medical Center, Ann is encouraged by seeing her patients confront daunting medical situations. “It’s very inspiring to see people who are fighting the fight every day of their life,” she said. Sensitive to the pain her patients experience as a result of their treatments, Ann directs them to foods with healthy fats and other important nutrients.

One of Ann’s patients is an 85-year-old woman with stomach cancer. “But she is the feistiest thing,” Ann said. “It doesn’t feel good to have your stomach radiated,” Ann said. “But she made a big effort when she could,” and Ann’s nutritional suggestions helped her. During appointments, the woman often stepped on the scale and proudly called people over to show off her weight gain.

Ann checks in with her and her family regularly to see how she’s doing. She comes in periodically for surveillance scans to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned, and Ann is pleased to see that she is maintaining her spunk. “She’s just a fighter,” Ann said.

MARY ELLEN BANEY CARNUCCIO

Mary Ellen Baney Carnuccio ’88, Ph.D., Ann’s younger sister, says Sister Margaret Mary helped expose her to Immaculata and influenced her to enroll there. At the time, students who wished to obtain elementary education certification needed to have a major in a specific discipline, so Mary Ellen chose psychology in order to gain a better understanding of children. She is now in her 25th year of teaching fifth grade.

She went on to get her Ph.D. in Temple University’s psychoeducational processes program, which had “a nice overlap of education, human development, and cognitive psychology,” she said. After Sister Margaret Mary, Mary Ellen is the second doctor in the family. Sister was one of the people to whom Mary Ellen dedicated her dissertation, thanking her “for setting an excellent example of high academic standards and for her constant prayers.”

Mary Ellen’s dissertation explores the multiple intelligences involved in the learning process. “Kids learn differently,” she said, “and there’s so much emphasis on verbal intelligence, so you want to reach them in other ways.”

She uses discovery games to appeal to different types of learners. In one game, teams of students pretend to be colonists and make decisions about where to settle and how to get food. They draw cards with descriptions of circumstances, such as bad weather or sickness, and they learn to handle these challenges and to assign tasks to each other based on their diverse skills.

Mary Ellen makes her own discoveries during these games, working to find out her students’ unique interests and personalities, connect with them, and help them learn. “But it’s so much more than the curriculum,” she said, so she also works to set a good example. “Kids feed off of your behavior,” she said, so she is careful to make them all feel valuable. She intentionally takes as many opportunities as possible to praise them.

Mary Ellen didn’t feel called to a religious vocation, although people used to ask her if she did. But, like her mother, she does see teaching as her calling. “I felt like I didn’t have to have a habit on to still be a witness,” she said. “I teach in a public school, but I can still be a good witness in terms of a role model to kids.”

In addition to using her gifts at school, Mary Ellen uses them in the church. Her bishop wrote a letter to the diocese about the importance of the laity in the Catholic Church. Wanting to become a better lay leader, Mary Ellen earned a master’s in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, recommended by Monsignor Lou Marucci. Studying there filled in some gaps in her religious education, she said, and enabled her to later teach a theology course in Immaculata’s College of LifeLong Learning.

“The church is learning to use the talents of the laity in conjunction with the priests,” Mary Ellen said. “We all have a baptismal call to holiness.”

DOMENIC CARNUCCIO

When Domenic Carnuccio, ’97 M.A., announced that he would be resigning from his successful aerospace engineering career in order to pursue counseling, his boss tried to get him to reconsider. But Domenic told him, “You know that I’m called to counseling. I need to move in that direction.” After pursuing his undergraduate degree in sociology with concentrations in psychology and theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, he started working with cancer patients at Chester County Hospital and soon afterward began a master’s in counseling psychology at Immaculata.

“There’s nothing like going to a classroom with a crucifix on the wall,” Domenic said. He found a unique combination of spiritual formation and good academics at Immaculata, which influenced both his personal and professional life. “You’re around the greatest people who care about you, especially the IHMs,” he said.

He saw the Sisters not just in the classroom, but also in the hospital. He remembers visiting and praying with Sister Eileen Turner, IHM, a relatively young patient on his cancer unit. “Her attitude was exceptional,” he said, feeling that she always brought more encouragement to him than he brought her. In addition to bringing encouragement, Domenic—along with Sister Emelda Travis, IHM—brought the Eucharist to cancer patients. Domenic still visits the IHM cemetery where these two Sisters and Sister Margaret Mary are buried, all of whom prayed faithfully for him. “My relationships with the IHMs still continue,” he said.

Drawing on what he learned from his spiritual and professional mentors, Domenic helped connect his patients with programs that offered expensive drugs at a lower cost, extending their quality of life as long as possible. If they had no family, he made sure they didn’t die alone, and he even researched where their parents were buried and raised money to have them buried nearby. But, as he frequently acknowledges, “all of it was God’s work.”

Now, Domenic is counseling “influencers”—politicians, attorneys, CEOs, physicians, educators, “people in leadership positions. If they have a healthy perspective on life, they can affect so many other people,” he said. “They realize, because I integrate spirituality with psychology, that God has them in those leadership positions, and they know the responsibility and the accountability with them.”

Domenic is grateful for the rewards he has enjoyed in his own leadership position, recognizing that his parents sowed the first seeds by being advocates for the Catholic Church and for Catholic education. “They sent me and all of my siblings in the right direction,” he said.

“Mary Ellen had the same thing—her whole family went to Immaculata,” Domenic said, calling that religious and academic heritage a “cornerstone” they shared when they first met.

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

As for how they met, Domenic said, “We could never have put that together.”

Years ago, Domenic’s brother took him to see the Jubilate Deo Chorale and Orchestra’s Easter program, with music accompanying a re-enactment of the Passion. Mary Ellen was playing the Blessed Mother, as she had done for many years, portraying the tender, heart-rending scene of the Pietà.

Although he couldn’t see her face, Domenic sensed that she was genuinely connecting with the Blessed Mother. “I’d like to marry a woman like her,” he said to his brother.

In 2002, IU Vice President for Academic Affairs Sister Ann Heath, IHM, Ph.D. (then the dean of the College of Graduate Studies), asked Domenic to carry an American flag at the inauguration of IU’s new president, Sister R. Patricia Fadden, IHM, Ed.D. Before the ceremony, Domenic ran into Tom O’Brien, now associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies, whom Domenic, then 46, had known for many years as a deacon in his home parish. Domenic mentioned that he had been praying for a wife, and O’Brien said he would pray for God to help him find the right woman.

At the reception, Domenic saw someone he thought he recognized, a former nun to whom some Sisters had introduced him a few years ago, hoping that the two would be a good match.

“Don’t I know you?” he asked Mary Ellen. She wasn’t in fact the former nun; they had never met before. But a friend’s advice for single women crossed Mary Ellen’s mind: “Pray for your St. Joseph.” She wasn’t looking for a husband at that point, but something about this man got her attention.

They went on to mingle with other people, but they kept running into each other without trying to. “I could see,” Domenic said, “just in that short conversation in that room, God had also done a great work in her.”

Ruth Ann had been another flag bearer in the ceremony, and she and Domenic struck up a conversation. He learned that they had both been in the same counseling program, though at different times, and that she was the president of the Jubilate Deo Chorale and Orchestra, as well as Mary Ellen’s mother.

The reception ended, and they parted ways. But Domenic kept thinking about Mary Ellen. Finally, he got her email address through Ruth Ann and wrote to her, “Are you the angel God sent to protect me?” She still has the email.

Members of the Jubilate Choir sang at their wedding 14 months later. Monsignor Lou Marucci married them, lifting up both their hands during the Eucharist as Domenic held the Host and Mary Ellen held the chalice.

“The Lord made me wait, but the wait was well worth it,” Domenic said. “He has his way of grooming us in the meantime.” Domenic later thanked Sister Ann for helping him meet his wife. “The providence of God has a way of working things out beyond our capabilities,” he said.

In addition to his call to counseling and to marriage, Domenic has discerned a call to the permanent diaconate, and he is in the second year of the program at St. Charles. That’s why Mary Ellen is the angel sent to watch over him, Domenic says. She’s been a good support to him with her academic talents, helping him with the work and attending some of the same classes with him that she took in her master’s program there. As the wife of a future deacon, she will share in the ministry of supporting priests so they can focus on their pastoral duties.

“The Lord is setting us on a path that has already blessed a lot of people,” Domenic said. He spoke of the “positive extensions” he has seen in his family as a result of his and Mary Ellen’s development at Immaculata. Every night they read to their two sons, Domenic Jr., 7, and William, 3.

Domenic and Mary Ellen are proud to see their sons growing intellectually, but they also realize that it’s about more than academic development. Their time at Immaculata was also about spiritual development, building their talents and preparing them to fulfill their callings. Mary Ellen understands that she and Domenic can have a far-reaching influence on their sons by providing this kind of religious education—“domestic church,” as she calls it.

The Carnuccios have sought to ground their family in the church. Mary Ellen said Domenic Jr. notices the Stations of the Cross and is moved with compassion for Jesus. On weekdays, Domenic Sr. sometimes takes William into the empty sanctuary, letting him run around the pews and have fun while his father says the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament. “When you look upon the Exposition, it just cleanses your soul,” Domenic said. Even while their sons are young, Domenic and Mary Ellen are intentionally exposing them to the sacraments.

AMAZING GRACE

Sister Margaret Mary, Ruth Ann, Ann, Mary Ellen, and Domenic all expressed their gratitude for the part Immaculata played in helping them to grow and bear fruit in their work and their faith.

“You look back and you see how it was orchestrated by God. It’s just amazing,” Domenic said. “Blessing upon blessing, grace upon grace.”

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