Obituary of Virginia M. Osborn
Virginia Mary Osborn, aka Elizabeth Malone Osborn, aka Sr. Virginia Mary OHS, beloved partner of Allan J. Brophy, passed away peacefully at home on April 14, 2019. In addition to her partner, Allan, she is survived by her sister Mary C. Osborn (Bachman) and family of DesPlaines, IL and a brother, Arthur F. Osborn of Austin, TX. She was predeceased by her parents the late Arthur W. Osborn and Mabel J. Mansell (Osborn). Beth, as she was known to family, is also survived by good friends Carolyn Polycarpus, Geraldine Olszewski, and Alisha R. W. Brophy.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Beth grew up on Army base medical units as her dad was an oral surgeon during and after WWII. This is where she claims to have gotten her first experience of real suffering...Soldiers suffering from what we now call PTSD. She acquired her passion for serving the hurting, damaged and dis-possessed early. During that time Beth attended a presentation at a church by a charismatic Canadian nun that inspired her to investigate a life of service. Upon graduation with honors from Sunset High in Oak Cliff, Texas, Beth travelled to NYC to join the Community of the Holy Spirit (an Episcopal order), the Mother Superior being that charismatic nun, Mother Ruth, who had started a school in NYC. Beth went on to attain two Master degrees from Columbia University and Bradley University, summa cum laude. A beloved teacher, Sr. Virginia Mary happily taught at St. Hilda's and St. Bart's for 25 years. Her daily break was spent running in Riverside Park wearing her habit, earning her the title "The Jogging Nun", as photographed by he Daily News as a center spread.
Brilliant in languages Beth taught herself to speak Danish before spending her Junior year as an exchange student in Denmark. She also spoke Spanish, French and was proficient in Latin.
While exploring the treasures in the convent library, with what little free time available to a contemplative teacher in a silent order, she absorbed a book on economic restructuring. It struck a chord that guided her future endeavors including taking a leave to study firsthand the issues in 1980's Latin America. Researching and visiting communities as diverse as Nicaragua, Guatemala, Vancouver, Spain, Scotland, Connecticut and upstate New York, Virginia developed a sense of what living in community requires.
On the basis of a treatise/proposal she wrote on prisoner reintegration through farming, she was granted property in Dutchess County, NY. To fulfill her vision she enlisted the wisdom and experience of Sr. Margo Morris SHJ who has ably transformed a dream into reality, Sprout Creek Farm.
On her vision quest, Virginia found her calling once again as a coworker at Camphill Copake and Camphill Triform. Following her interest in prison reform, she became an AVP (Alternatives to Violence Program) facilitator, where she met her life partner Allan, while doing workshops and teaching in prisons. Virginia was loved by Superintendants, facilitators and participants who fondly called her Volcanica Virginia.
During her residency in Columbia county she earned a Waldorf high school teachers certification, did volunteer work in Hudson Correctional Facility, drove the meals-on-wheels van, was a Compeer, established the vegetable gardens at Hudson Correctional Facility, initiated a voluntary simplicity group, started and ran the first Columbia County Hours program and was active in The Ghent Playhouse.
Once residing in Rensselaer County she continued her acting career in several community theaters culminating in her starring role as Molly Sweeney. She was employed as a substitute teacher in several schools, was a Literacy Volunteer, sang soprano in the Capital Community Voices, continued in AVP and stood vigil for peace as a founding member of Southern Rensselaer Neighbors for Peace.
Beth's love for her friends, pets, poetry, theatre and education was surpassed only by her love of music. She was an opera buff and founding member of ESR (East Schodack Ramblers).
Her enthusiastic love of life and people led her in many directions. Her empathy for the downtrodden and disabled made her light stand out. She marched to close the SOA (School of the Americas), supported indigenous peoples rights, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), Democracy Now, the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) and 350.org.
The family would like to acknowledge the caring shown by her attendants during her long illness.
Memorial service for VMO to be held May 26, 2019 at 1:00pm from Friends Meeting of Albany, 727 Madison Ave. Albany, NY 12208
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