‘Win or lose, they’re still my team’: Bills fan turns 100 years old on Super Bowl Sunday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sister Raymond Joseph, who goes by “Sister RJ” with Sisters of Mercy, took her hundredth lap around the sun right on Super Bowl Sunday.

“I honestly don’t feel the 100 years,” said Sister RJ. “It seems funny to me, I want to laugh, 100 years? It doesn’t seem possible, but I have enjoyed I think all of those.”

Sister RJ grew up in Corning, just down the street from Sisters of Mercy, and attended Sisters of Mercy through the eighth grade.

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“I’ve been a Sister of Mercy for a lot of years, and I have not regretted one of them,” said Sister RJ. “We only lived a couple houses away from them, so whenever I’d be out misbehaving, my mother would say, ‘The nuns are watching you,'” she joked.

Her family told WIVB News 4 she joined Sisters of Mercy in 1944, as a music teacher who played percussion.

“She was known at a particular time, there was an article about her many years ago, it was called, ‘The Little Nun with a Big Stick,” her niece, Dr. Kim Griffin, who traveled to WNY from Spain, said.

Though she may be little herself, her impact on the world is certainly not. Her family told News 4 it would take hours to go over everything she’s done in her lifetime.

“She has traveled the world. She has been to every funeral, wedding, confirmation, whether it be us, or her students,” Kathleen Kneeland, RJ’s loved one, told us. “She’s known in the retirement community as the ‘Party Planner’ because she throws all the parties here and the football games, and when it’s NFL Sunday, and the Bills are playing, she has signs up in the elevators.”

Sister RJ was in her 30s when the Buffalo Bills were established as a team.

“They’re my favorite team, and being halfway local, I feel like we have a special bond there, so they’re my team — no matter what,” said Sister RJ.

What’s it like being a Bills fan for so long?

“Well sometimes, wonderful and sometimes you were ashamed,” she laughed. “We all have bad days so we can’t blame them.”

When News 4 spoke with Sister RJ on Friday, what she didn’t know was that at her birthday party, thrown by her family at an Irish Pub in Rochester with more than 30 of her loved ones traveling in from all over the world, is that she would receive a very special video message from former Buffalo Bill Jim Kelly.

His message to her:

Hey RJ, Jim Kelly here, first of all I wanna wish you a very, very happy 100th birthday, oh my word, that is so awesome! And I understand it also is on Super Bowl Sunday. So I would apologize, but I wasn’t playing, because wouldn’t that be awesome, if the Bills were in the Super Bowl, and you were celebrating your hundredth birthday on Super Bowl Sunday, and the Bills won! That would be awesome. But that means you got to be around for many many more years because the good Lord has plans for you and me, and for you to watch those Bills win that big trophy! So you take care of yourself, god bless you, love you, it’s awesome. Happy Birthday RJ!”

Her family told News 4 that she said she will remember this for the rest of her life — and that she plans to stick around until the Bills win a Super Bowl.

“I’ll be clapping no matter what happens, win or lose, they’re still my team,” said Sister RJ.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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