Sister Mary Berchmans Trentacoste, SNJM

Sister Rosalie Trentacoste
March 16, 1931 – April 15, 2017


To be a missionary has been the
only desire of my life and everything else
has always been geared to this end.
In a way, I will never fully understand
my vocation as a Holy Names Sister
or feel like a complete person
unless it reaches fruition.
~Sister Mary Berchmans, 1963

Sister Mary Berchmans (Rosalie Trentacoste) waited until Holy Saturday, April 15, 2017, to make her entrance into heaven. Perhaps so she could add her voice to the heavenly Alleluias. Sister Mary Berchmans was 86 years old and celebrated 61 years of profession as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

For five years, at the start of her religious life, Sister Berchmans was an educator at Saint Anthony (San Gabriel), Ramona Convent Secondary School (Alhambra) and Saint Mary (Los Angeles).

Sister Berchmans, from a young age, was drawn to missionary life and to the love of those who were poor. These two “loves,” as she described them, became the cornerstones of her life. She served in Lesotho in Southern Africa for 17 years as nurse, mid-wife, educator including teaching at Mazenod Training College. She started the “Winter School” for the education of sisters of many religious communities in Lesotho which continues to this day.

After returning from Lesotho in 1980, Sister Berchmans was drawn to another ministry which allowed her to serve those who were poor as a nurse at Saint Anthony Medical Clinic in San Francisco’s Tenderloin for 16 years.

She is survived by her sister, Palma Trentacoste, nieces, nephew and other relatives. Her quiet and steady presence was a beacon to others.

Gifts in her memory may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 907, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or on-line at

Sister Mary Berchmans Trentacoste, SNJM departed this life on April 15, 2017 at Our Lady of Fatima, Saratoga, California. Sister Mary Berchmans celebrated 86 years of life and 61 years of her religious profession.