Published July 9, 2015
SNELLVILLE—Sister Mary Immaculata Collin, VHM, of the Monastery of the Visitation of Maryfield in Snellville, died on Thursday, June 25, at the age of 85. Sister Mary Immaculata was the last of the foundation sisters, those who established this monastery in the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1954.
Sister Mary Immaculata, born Neoma Mary Collin on Sept. 27, 1929, in Detroit, was the daughter of Felix Collin and Ruth Mary Kincaid. She entered the Monastery of the Visitation in Toledo, Ohio, on July 2, 1946, at the age of 16, inspired by the life of St. Therese of Lisieux who entered cloistered life at the age of 15. Sister Mary Immaculata made her final profession of vows on May 3, 1948. The order, founded by St. Francis de Sales, is known formally as the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary.
Sister Mary Immaculata was chosen to be one of the 10 founding sisters at the foundation in Georgia, arriving in Atlanta on June 29, 1954, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. She was 24 years old. As if by Divine Providence, her funeral was held on the same day, 61 years later, with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory presiding.
Sister Mary Immaculata was novice mistress for many women discerning their religious vocation, serving in that role for 22 years. She served two terms as superior of Maryfield.
The foundation was made by Mother Francis de Sales Cassidy, VHM, a native of Macon, and the aunt of Mercy Sister Valentina Sheridan, of Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. She had long desired to bring the order to her home state. The original monastery was on Ponce de Leon Avenue in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta. The monastery moved to Snellville in 1974 to be in a more rural location.
In an interview with the Georgia Bulletin in 1984, Sister Mary Immaculata recalled when she was first asked if she would be willing to leave the Toledo monastery and help found the new one in Georgia.
“I said yes. I was ecstatic,” she recalled of that first conversation with Mother Francis de Sales Cassidy. “It wasn’t just the idea of adventure,” but a call from the Lord. She had thought that if she did not enter the Visitation order she would become a missionary in the South. When the decision came to make a Visitation foundation in Georgia, “it was like a vocation within a vocation,” she said.
In a tribute to her, the sisters of the monastery wrote that she was known for her wisdom, friendliness and sense of humor. “She loved God, her family and friends, and was grateful to God for her vocation, being faithful to her Savior throughout her religious life. She was a delightful person who will be sorely missed.”
Condolences may be sent to Mother M. Jane Frances Williams, VHM, at the Monastery of the Visitation, 2055 Ridgedale Drive, Snellville, Georgia 30078.