She embodies the wit of her Irish ancestors and the gratitude of her Franciscan community.
Case in point: Sister Mary Ellen recently wrote, "I had a happy childhood, was spoiled to a degree for only six years until Bill was born, and a year later, Leonard. We were members of St. Mary Parish and the three of us attended St. Mary School. We called it 'The Sisters' School.' I joined the Sisters in 1939 -- with never a regret."
This Bear Creek native's "no regrets" approach to living is possible because of her faith. "The greatest gift God has given me -- and is giving me -- is the gift of faith. Faith allows me to do things and serve in ways I never would have chosen for myself."
Faith has led her to religious life, teaching grade school, guiding young women preparing for their initial vows, leading this community as the global Church began to understand and implement the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, and establishing the community's Development Office.
"Being a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross has enriched my life. I am still the same person I was when I entered in 1939. Our lives are very normal with their ups and downs, joys and crosses. But the enrichment has occurred in my prayer life. How could I not be enriched with participation in daily Mass, community prayer morning and evening, and ample time for personal prayer?" she says.
"Living with joy-filled, hospitable and mission-minded Sisters brought about, with my cooperation, a transformation. So be it! I would do it all over again."