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Prayers for popular nun badly burned in fire

Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 19:25:10-05

Sister Ruth Marie Penska, 82, is now listed in serious condition in the Erie County Medical Center's burn treatment unit.  The well-known local nun was critically hurt during a fire on Tuesday December 20th in the Marina Vista Apartments on Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, where Sister Ruth lived alone.

News of her injuries is heartbreaking for many because Sister Ruth was very active in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.  She is a former campus minister for Erie Community College, taught Spanish at D'Youville College and Holy Angels Academy, was active in the pro-life movement and involved with several area churches.

As a member of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, Sister Ruth was one of the most dedicated and popular volunteers for the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service for the Blind.

"She was just here last week and that is why news of the fire is such a shock," said radio reading service president Bob Sikorski.  Sikorski said Sister Ruth was one of his best readers and very popular with listeners.

Sister Ruth was also an author who penned two books about her own spirituality.

There are only about seventeen Grey Nuns left in Buffalo.  All are now praying and asking others to do the same for Sister Ruth's recovery.

A native the the Black Rock/Riverside section of Buffalo, Sister Ruth has an extensive resume including:

-Former campus minister at Erie County Community College

-Pro-Life advocate

-Bible study leader at Assumption Parish, Buffalo

-Author

-Former Spanish teacher at D'Youville College and Holy Angels Academy

-Parish Minister at All-Saints Parish, Riverside.

-Former teacher at Immaculate Conception School, Eden

-Former teacher at schools in Pennsylvania and New York City.

7 Eyewitness New Reporter Ed Reilly has more about Sister Ruth and her injuries in his report.