Achiever ‘Cum Laude’

By CMM Evelyn Fugazzi, SCN

Sister Lucille is an interesting conversationalist, a person with a great sense of humor who has a twinkle in her eye for merriment. She is devoted to prayer and carrying on the mission of her congregation.  She has achieved much but ever exhibits our virtues of hospitality, simplicity, and sincerity!

This was a family that already could claim 11 high achievers!  Among them Sister Lucille’s grandfather, A. B. Cosby, who had invented an air brake for steam locomotives that was also usable on street cars. He developed patented mechanisms for cutting and twisting tobacco and other steps in the manufacturing of tobacco products.  Another achiever, Lucille’s father, R. Roy Cosby, designed the first foundations for Virginia Electric and Power Company shortly after finishing his education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering.  He also designed the first power lines for this company in the state of Virginia. Later in Electrical Contracting Business for himself, he converted the gas lighted homes in Richmond, Va. to electricity.  

Lucille’s Italian Mother, Ida Madeline La Fratta, took great pride in her family. She offered prayer for each of her 11 children, six boys and five girls but identified her daughter, Lucille, as a child with ‘achiever’ potential.  Her prayers were answered in that all of her children completed advanced education and excelled in their various professions. 

Sister Lucille shares, “We were a close-knit family.  My childhood was very happy and from an early age, I loved to engage in creative imaginative play and delighted in every new adventure in learning.”   Lucille, the fifth child, was educated in a public school setting. After completing some of her graduate study at the University of Maryland, she worked as an assistant Water Chemist and Biologist for the City of Richmond.  For many years she held a sacred desire in her heart to enter religious life.  When she sought counsel from Visitation Sisters, good friends of the family, they advised her to enter an order that focused strongly on the ministry of education.  Lucille chose the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and entered at Wakefield in 1951. 

After profession in 1954, Lucille, now Sister Mary Ida, taught in secondary schools, Good Shepherd in Frankfort and St Agnes in Uniontown.  For the next 18 years she taught at Nazareth College during which time she completed her Ph.D. at the Institutum Divi Thomae in Cincinnati.  She collaborated with Sisters Mary Adeline O’Leary, Virginia Heines, and Roderick Juhasz in research for enzymes of cancer.  When the college closed, Sister Lucille was invited by Yale University to manage their Animal Colony and to be  an Assistant Professor in their research program for developing basic cancer therapeutic drugs  After 17 years at Yale, Sister Lucille moved into her third career serving nine years as Executive Secretary of the Corporate Responsibility Committee for the SCN Congregation.  Currently she continues her work in Social Justice as consultant on Corporate Responsibility for the SCN Community.