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Sister M. Pacelli, OSF

Sister Pacelli Staskiel, OSF, grew up in Mount Carmel in the 1930s as Geraldine Staskiel, the daughter of Stephen and Margaret Staskiel, and attended the town’s public schools, graduating from Mount Carmel High School. She went on to West Chester State Teachers College to study English and social studies. She also appeared in a number of stage productions at the university.

During her senior year at West Chester she considered entering a religious order. Upon graduation in 1949, she did some substitute teaching, and then entered the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters in 1950. She eventually received the name “Pacelli,” Latin for “Little Peace.” As a postulant and a young sister, she continued teaching, either at the elementary or secondary levels, while pursuing a master’s degree at Villanova University. She later earned a doctorate through Duquesne University.

In 1960, Alvernia College President Sister Zygmunta asked Sister Pacelli to join the English Department faculty at the new college. In the forty-nine years since Sister Pacelli joined the Alvernia College faculty, she has touched many of the school’s programs — and students — as instructor, director, and dean, receiving the title of Dean Emerita and Professor of English and Communication Emerita for her work and dedication to the college and its students. Her book, Designed to Serve: The Place and Persons of Francis Hall (published in 2008) is a companion book to Threads: A Tapestry of Alvernia College (published in 2002). 

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.