Harriet Harson

Birth: April 25, 1916
Profession: February 11, 1946
Death: December 19, 2006

Sister Harriet L. Harson, a longtime educator who worked in Sacred Heart schools in Newton, Mass., Albany, N.Y., Detroit, Greenwich, Conn., and New York City, died Tuesday, December 19 (2006) at Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany. She was 90 and had been a Religious of the Sacred Heart for 69 years.

Sister Harson was born in Providence, R.I., on April 26, 1916 and graduated from Hope Street High School. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in Albany in 1936 and professed her temporary vows in 1937. She professed her final vows in the Society in 1946.

She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y., in 1961 and a master’s degree in reading and psychology from S.U.N.Y. in 1968.

Sister Harson taught in Sacred Heart schools from 1939 to 1964. She then worked for 13 years as a reading specialist in Sacred Heart schools in Greenwich and Albany.

One of her students remembers her as “an inspirational and tireless motivator who taught her students that education provides equality and unlimited opportunity to all. Her commitment to helping those less fortunate and her ability to share and teach these beliefs were a lesson that would last a lifetime.”

In later years, Sister Harson expanded her ministry to working with the elderly and the poor through Senior Citizens, Albany, and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, as a certified nurses’s assistant and a certified home health aide.

She began her nursing work in 1977 at various institutions in Albany, including Albany Medical Hospital and Albany County Public Schools. From 1980 to 1986, she worked as a home health aide in the social service and parish programs in Albany

She continued to provide medical services and pastoral care on a part-time basis until she retired in 1995 and moved to Kenwood, a retirement center for the Religious of the Sacred Heart.

Sister Harson was one of four children born to Joseph and Emma (Grimms) Harson of Providence. Her siblings all preceded her in death.

In keeping with Sister Harson’s instructions, her body was donated to science.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Friday, December 22, at the Kenwood Convent in Albany.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4100 Forest Park Avenue, Suite A, St. Louis, MO, 63108.


Submitted by Rhonda Rudnick on

I had Mother Harson in third grade at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grosse Pointe Michigan. She was and still is my absolute favorite teacher. She was hard and firm. She found my talents and strengths that others overlooked and gave me the confidence to use them. The "Convent" was not the same when she left. Mother Harson was one of my utmost joys of childhood. I have always remembered her with great admiration and fondness.

I loved her. I still do, and for always.