Sister Roberta M. Giampaoli was born in Providence, R.I., daughter of Peter and Mary (Cola) Giampaoli. She attended St. Teresa's Elementary and High Schools, where she would later return to teach. She entered the Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in 1956. She graduated from Emmanuel College and earned a master's degree in Religious Education from Boston College.
Sister Roberta was also known as Sr. Peter Miriam.
Sister Roberta taught at Our Lady of Sacred Heart School in Springfield, Mass., St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, Conn., Holy Cross School in Springfield, St. Mary's School in Crompton, St. Teresa High School and St. Mary's Academy, both in Providence. She served as Director of Religious Education at St. Teresa's Parish in Providence, Our Lady of Grace Parish in Johnston, St. Raymond's Parish in Providence, St. Bernard's Parish in North Kingstown, and St. Eugene's Parish in Chepachet.
Sister Roberta died Wed., Feb. 3, 2021 at the Notre Dame Long Term Care Center in Worcester. She leaves her brother, Joseph P. Giampaoli of Johnston, R.I., as well as Marion Giannasi, Graziella Giampaoli, Angelyn Massiello, Karla Massiello, many other relatives and friends, and her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
The funeral was held Wed., Feb. 17, in St. Mary's Church, 640 Main St., Shrewsbury. She is interred at Notre Dame du Lac Cemetery, Worcester, Mass.
Eulogy for Sr. Roberta delivered by longtime friend Joan Conde Bevers
Oh My God, Roberta, I have only five minutes to share a lifetime of friendship, so here goes.
We first met at St. Teresa's Grammar School. Roberta was dressed all in brown and she was so cute. Her mother loved brown. At the age of nine, we joined the school choir and sang throughout our school years. She had the most melodious, beautiful voice.
Her uncle owned an ice cream store on Atwells Avenue, and when Roberta was working there, a group of us would enter the store, and ask her how much of a banana split we could get for a quarter? Her response always was, "Are you trying to get me into trouble"? We always assured her that there were no relatives around, because we checked before walking in. The banana split were always big and delicious.
She was the President Council and she loved to wear her whistle. She asserted her power by blowing it when she wanted our attention. To knock her off her pedestal, all we has to do was to hide the whistle and watch her search for it. She was a good sport and never held it against us. Roberta excelled as the Captain of our Basketball Team.
On September 7th, 1956, seven of us from Providence, walked into 62 Newton Street in Waltham, Roberta and I were the only ones that cried, and did we cry. On that day, the Rainbow Division Division of Postulants was born, as we were asked to bring our colorful coats.
Several years later, Roberta and I were stationed together at St. Martin de Porres. While there, we, along with Sr. Maureen Lewis, who passed away on Feb. 2nd, sat on the kitchen counters and tried to convince Sister Elizabeth and Father Gerity to let us go to The March On Washington. They in turn tried to convince US that it would be dangerous; needless to say, we didn't go.
Roberta and I celebrated our 25 years in Notre Dame at Saint Teresa's Church in Providence. The Priest officiating at the Mass was a former first grade student of mine from St. Martin de Porres School. The sister leading the procession down the aisle was Sister Delores Harrold, carrying the beautiful Notre Dame Cross.
Between that time and the 50th, Roberta was diagnosed with MS. No one fought this disease harder than she did. When we celebrated our 50th Anniversary from High School, she drove herself with all of the equipment attached to the steering wheel.
Shortly after that time she moved to Notre Dame du Lac with her little dog. While there she continued on her mission on helping people attain their GED's and many other accomplishments.
Every Christmas. we boarded a van, along with other members from ort Band of "56" and headed towards Boston for a fabulous Christmas Feast hosted by Bill and Sheila.
I spent many an afternoon with Roberta, either at the dinner table with others or quietly sitting in her room sharing private moments of which I will cherish forever.
As Julie Billiart would say, "Ah, How Good Is The Good God," as I was able to say good bye to her. I held her in my arms and told her that I loved her.
I know where you are right now, Roberta, I feel your Presence, trying to comfort those of us who need your strength. You have our permission, Roberta, to rest and enjoy the benefits of a life well spent. You were loved and will never be forgotten because you have left a mark on all of us.