Katherine Louise Lappeus had the kind of nurturing spirit that helped bring life into the world, when she worked in a hospital nursery, and eased a person's last days by ministering to the elderly in her community.
"She had both ends of the life spectrum," said her friend Sister Mary Victoria Gabriel. "She applied the same type of care to both ends."
Lappeus, 92, died Feb. 27 and was buried in the cemetery at Sisters of St. Dominic Motherhouse Complex in Amityville, where she spent many years.
Lappeus was born in Albany and adopted at age 3 by a couple who raised her in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts.
She received her nursing degree from upstate Glen Falls Hospital and worked in the nursery at Brady Maternity Hospital in Albany -- the very hospital where she was born.
Lappeus then became interested in joining the Sisters of St. Dominic, Congregation of the Holy Cross in Amityville. She entered the novitiate in 1945, and took the name Sister Mary Baptist in honor of another nun who had cancer.
Because of her nursing background, Lappeus was assigned to care for elderly and ailing sisters, which led to nearly three decades of ministering to the elderly at the Our Lady of Consolation Residence in Amityville.
After the residential facility moved to West Islip, Lappeus continued to assist the elderly by driving the sisters to their appointments or helping them run errands.
She helped care for Gabriel's father in Baldwin and others before her failing vision prompted her to retire in 2005.
"She lived a good life, and she was ready to go to God," Gabriel said.