Farewell Sr. Dorothy!

It is with sadness that we convey the news that Sr. Dorothy Beck, a member of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, entered into her eternal reward on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at Holy Redeemer Hospital. While she was hospitalized, she was visited daily by Handmaid sisters, the Beck family, and close friends. The day before her passing she can be seen with her Handmaid cross faithfully worn around her neck, her rosary gently wrapped in her right hand, her left hand tenderly held the hands of her loved ones, and her mouth uttered softly: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You. I trust in the mercy of God”. The sisters of her community were by her side and accompanied her body until the undertaker came.

Sister Dorothy, a Philadelphia native, entered the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on December 8, 1954.  Of the more than six decades of religious life, for 40 years she served in a leadership capacity, having been the Provincial Superior of the USA Province 3 times, for a total of 18 years.  There is no other sister in the USA Province who has done the same.  She was also the Community Superior in three of the USA communities, Wyncote, Miami, and Haverford. 

Sr. Dorothy held degrees in secondary education from Villanova University and religious education from Fordham University, was the initiator of the ACJ Associates in Wyncote, and served for many years as the facilitator of the ACJ Associates in Wyncote and Haverford. 

As an educator, administrator, and religious education coordinator, Sr. Dorothy was a person of profound and limitless faith.  It was this faith that prompted her, like the Blessed Mother, willingly and without hesitation to say “Yes” to the call to religious life.  It was this faith that sustained her throughout her ministries and throughout her life as a Handmaid.  And it was this faith that guided her path throughout the countless and complex decisions she had to make for and with the congregation of Handmaids.

While Sister Dorothy was most recently missioned to Wyncote, her previous ministry was as Director of the Saint Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA, where she served until July, 2016.   It was a ministry she had served in several times, each time bringing her Handmaid hospitality and joy to more than 5,000 retreatants each year.  She took great delight in coordinating and planning programs, retreats, and services that would enable participants to feel the healing and reparative power of Christ.  She loved to witness the spiritual development of those who sought guidance or enlightenment at the Center.  She was invigorated through the conversations and reflections individuals shared with her during and after their time at the Center.  In short, Sister Dorothy loved retreat ministry!

Sr. Dorothy was most assuredly a person who, body and soul, mind and heart, espoused the Handmaid values and charism.  Her life was honored at a funeral liturgy held at St. Raphaela Center.


St. Raphaela Center welcomes both Individuals and Groups looking for a time of retreat. We also offer scheduled Programs, including a variety of retreats and events organized by our Center staff around different thematic and spiritually-guided formats.

For Individuals

  • Personal Days of Prayer: Choose from one of our scheduled dates or arrange for your own.
  • Overnight Retreats & Other Programs: Choose from one of our scheduled programs or make arrangements for your own private retreat.
  • Spiritual Direction: Share your journey with a trained director, either on an ongoing basis or during a retreat stay.

For Groups

We host groups of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds. The following offerings are available for groups coming to the Center:

  • Partial-day, full-day, or overnight stay
  • Use of facilities and staff services
  • Collaboration of a staff member to help plan and facilitate a retreat

Scheduled Programs

We are adding new programs all the time! Some of our regular programs include:

Check back often to see all of our upcoming events, and register before space runs out!
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A warm welcome and God's loving embrace await you every day at
St. Raphaela Center - a place and a time for God.

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