We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Fairhaven Funeral Home
FAIRHAVEN-Brother James George Rukavina, ss.cc., a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary-United States Province, passed away suddenly in Fairhaven, MA on Tuesday , May 24, 2022, at the age of 75.
Born on May 22, 1947, to Anthony and Helen (Horbachewski) Rukavina, Jim attended the College at Brockport, State University of New York, where in 1970 he received a B.S. in Chemistry, majoring in Math and Physics. From 1987 to 1990 he attended Catholic University of America in Washington, DC., where he was awarded his Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Brother Jim entered the East Coast Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in August 1984, and attended novitiate in Hemet, California. He professed his first vows in Fairhaven on August 19,1985.
Jim began working as a nurse at George Washington Hospital in Washington, DC from 1991 until 1994, when the Congregation assigned him to its new mission in India. During his seven years there he became an integral part of the history of the SSCC work with leprosy patients and their families, a ministry that still continues there today. He served as both caregiver in the many leprosy colonies and at Damien Clinic, and assisted in the training of doctors in the project of leprosy awareness with treatment workshops and seminars.
When he returned to the US in 2001, he began the next phase of his career as a registered nurse at Sacred Heart Home in New Bedford, MA, a position he held until his “retirement” in 2016. But as anyone who knew him would attest, Brother Jim never really did retire as he continued to lovingly care for his SSCC Brothers, providing guidance and support as they faced medical challenges. Whether it was a doctor’s visit, a trip to the emergency room, a hospital stay, or time spent in a nursing home, Brother Jim quietly and humbly always stayed at his brother’s side.
In an interview for an SSCC publication in 2006, he wrote, “Not long ago at work I realized the encouragement I get from people who are suffering. It’s from them that I derive my strength to go on to help them while at the same time they are helping me even more”. The life of Brother Jim Rukavina, ss.cc. certainly exemplifies his firm belief in what became his guiding principle. He was always ready to serve.
In addition to his many SSCC Brothers and Sisters, Brother Jim is survived by his brother-in-law, John Pienta, nephews Mark Pienta, Michael Pienta and his wife Lucy, as well as several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. Along with his parents, Anthony and Helen, he was pre-deceased by his brother Anthony and his sister Carol (Pienta).
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Parish in Fairhaven, Massachusetts on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 10:30 AM followed by burial in the Sacred Hearts Community Cemetery. Visiting hours will take place at St. Joseph prior to the funeral, beginning at 9:30 AM. All are invited to attend a luncheon in honor of Brother Jim in St. Joseph Church hall immediately following the burial. Principal celebrant will be SSCC Provincial Lane Akiona, ss.cc.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Brother Jim’s memory may be made to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, PO Box 111, Fairhaven, MA 02719. Arrangements are being handled by Fairhaven Funeral Home who will live stream the funeral at https://www.hathawayfunerals.com/locations/fairhaven.html . May he rest in the Eternal Peace of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
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