Chicago area Sisters of Mercy recently celebrated jubilees from 50 to 70 years in a celebration at Mercy Circle in Chicago on April 30. Saint Xavier University (SXU) Campus Minister Sister Carol Mucha celebrated 50 years with the Sisters of Mercy. Seventy-year jubilarian Sister Marion Johnson was on the faculty at SXU in biology for 35 years. Twenty-one other jubilarians from Chicago are graduates of SXU. These Sisters have been in the forefront of education, work with the poor and immigrant rights.
Jubilarians 75 Years
Sister Mary Brian Costello
Sister Mary Brian Costello, a 1954 graduate of Saint Xavier in education, was born in Peoria, Ill. and served the Chicago Church as an elementary school teacher and as a high school English teacher and administrator. She served as superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1983 – 1990 and as chief of staff for Cardinal Bernardin from 1990 – 1998. Her ministries also included service in leadership of the Sisters of Mercy and on many Board of Trustees.
Sister Rosemary Kelley
After joining the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Rosemary Kelley was assigned to teach in the order’s grade schools and serve as principal of Saint Joachim, Saint Mary of the Lake and Mount Carmel Schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SXU in 1955. In addition to teaching, she had quite a varied career: administrative assistant of medical education at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, librarian at McAuley High School and director of admissions at Saint Catherine Residence in Milwaukee, Wis. among others. She has enjoyed the mix of pastoral and administrative work. Today she enjoys living at Mercy Circle.
Sister Kay McIntyre
Sister Kay McIntyre received her Bachelor of Science in education at Saint Xavier in 1954. She was a teacher, principal, director of CCD and co-manager at Tolentine Center, Olympia Fields, Ill. Sister Kay now lives at Mercy Circle.
Sister Dorothy Marie (Bede) Pelt
Sister Dorothy Marie Pelt was a teacher, principal and a missionary in Central America. She served in several schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. At 56 years of age, she went to Honduras, Central America where she worked as a pastoral associate for 38 years. She graduated from SXU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics in 1953 and a Master of Arts degree in education in 1962.
Sister Aquinice McCorry
Sister Aquinice McCorry graduated from Saint Xavier with a Bachelor of Science in social science in 1963. She served as an elementary teacher and administrator for many years. She then became activity director at Saint Catherine Residence in Milwaukee, Wis. Sister Aquinice also served as a pastoral staff member for Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Chicago.
Jubilarians 70 Years
Sister Ludmilla Benda
Sister Ludmilla Benda spent her early years on a farm in Iowa attending school in a one-room schoolhouse. After receiving her nursing degree from SXU, she received her master’s degree in hospital administration from George Washington University following her residency at Nassau County Hospital, Long Island, N.Y. Most of her years she spent in nursing, healthcare administration and parish ministry. She is currently serving the poor and needy in the Davenport, Iowa area assisted by other volunteers and funded entirely by donations.
Sister Marcian Deisenroth
Sister Marcian Deisenroth, native of Des Plaines, Ill., was a teacher in Wisconsin and Chicago schools; dietitian at Mercy Hospitals in Chicago, Aurora, Iowa; administrator of Foxknoll Retirement Home in Aurora and assistant administrator at Tolentine Center in Olympia Fields, Ill.; leadership team member of Sisters of Mercy; and a domestic violence volunteer in Aurora, Ill. She is now in the Ministry of Prayer at Mercy Circle. She graduated from Saint Xavier in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education.
Sister Robertus Fields
A graduate of SXU in education in 1967, Sister Robertus Fields was an elementary teacher in Catholic elementary schools in Beloit and Milwaukee, Wis.; Ottawa, Streator and Chicago, Ill. She served in clinical pastoral work at Mercy Hospital and Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Sister Robertus believed in serving the poor so she volunteered her services as needed, including work in soup kitchens in Chicago. She continued volunteering as a homecare visitor in Aurora, Ill. until 2010. She is now living at Mercy Circle.
Sister Laurus Gannon
Sister Laurus Gannon is a native Iowan who graduated from Brooklyn Public Schools. She then entered the Sisters of Mercy in Chicago and earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in education, respectively in 1959 and 1972 from Saint Xavier. She has enjoyed being an education, a tour leader and the director of pastoral care at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa. She served on the Board of Directors at Iowa City Mercy Hospital and Saint Catherine Residence in Milwaukee, Wis.
Sister Marion Johnson
A 1960 graduate of Saint Xavier, Sister Marion Johnson was a teacher all her life, beginning with first grade and ending at the University. She served at Saint Patrick in Milwaukee, Wis. and Saint Patrick in Janesville, Wis.; Resurrection, Saint Patrick Academy, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saint Little Flower and Saint Anne in Chicago; Notre Dame High School in Burlington, Iowa. Finally she was a faculty member in biology at Saint Xavier University in Chicago for 35 years. She now lives at Mercy Circle and volunteers with the Renaissance Academy.
Sister Irene Kay
A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Sister Irene Kay spent many years ministering in the Wisconsin area. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SXU in 1960. Her diverse career included that of an educator, activity director at Saint Catherine Residence, and a hospital chaplain. Sister Irene is best known as the foundress of Daystar, a charitable organization that provides shelter to women in need of a safe environment. Her years in Mercy ministry were spread over three states: Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Sister Patricia M. Murphy
Sister Patricia M. Murphy graduated from Saint Xavier with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science in 1961. Sister Pat taught in Chicago, Wisconsin and Peru, South America. She opened a new school, Nuestra Senor del Carmen, in Sicuani, Peru where she served for eight years. Sister Pat’s social service in ministry and administrative work was at Mercy Hospital Community Outreach, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Su Casa, Catholic Worker, Casa Notre Dame, and the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants.
Sister Ruth Mutchler
Sister Ruth taught for six years in Chicago as Sister Mary Alexia before becoming principal of Saint Mary’s in Lake Forest, Ill. She was then called to service as formation director for the Mercy community. Returning to education in 1969, she became guidance counselor and then executive director at Mother McAuley High School. After serving six years in Province Administration, Sister Ruth became principal of Saint Michael’s School in Orland Park, Ill. and then director of Saint Catherine’s Residence in Milwaukee, Wis. From 2000 to 2004 she was the director of The Institute of Women Today in Chicago. She graduated from Saint Xavier in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Jubilarians 60 Years
Sister Carol Mucha
Sister Carol Mucha (formerly Mary Jacinta), a Chicago native, has been a campus minister at Saint Xavier since 2010. Formerly she was a teacher, principal and education consultant in the Chicago Archdiocese School Office. She taught at Saint Helen, Saint Turibius, Saint Damian, and Saint Stanislaus and served as principal at Saint Damian, Saint Turibius and Saint Barnabas schools. In service of the Sisters of Mercy, she was a vocation and incorporation minister, spiritual director and initiated the New Membership Office for the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in St. Louis. She also spent three years in the Diocese of Laredo, Texas, where she was principal at Saint Augustine High School and pastoral minister at Divine Mercy Parish.
Sister Barbara Blake
Sister Barbara Blake, a Chicago native, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SXU in 1963. She was a teacher and administrator in area schools, including: Siena High School; administrator and spiritual director of Villa Center for Renewal in St. Charles, Ill. Currently, she is a psychotherapist, spiritual director and artist in the Colorado Springs, Colo. area.
Sister Maryellen Callahan
Sister Maryellen Callahan is a native West Side Chicagoan who was a teacher, principal, counselor and president. She graduated in 1964 from Saint Xavier with a degree in elementary education. She has ministered at Saint Malachy, Saint Catherine/Saint Lucy and Saint Thomas Aquinas in Chicago as well as Saint Patrick in Seneca, Ill., Saint William in Janesville, Wis. and Saint Eugene in Fox Point, Wis. Sister Maryellen is currently in her 24 year at Saint Angela School.
Sister Alice Marie Feehan
Sister Alice Marie Feehan (Martin May) was a teacher at Queen of Martyrs, Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Ethelreda and Resurrection; principal at Little Flower, Saint Mary in Evanston, Notre Dame in Clarendon Hills, and Saint Mary in Riverside, Ill. She also served as development director at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago. For her next 12 years, Sister Alice shared her love of music in 10 Chicago area nursing/Alzheimer residences. She now resides at Mercy Circle in Chicago. She graduated from Saint Xavier with both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in education in 1963 and 1970.
Sister Barbara Heneghan
Sister Barbara Heneghan is a native West Side Chicagoan, who was a teacher, administrator, healthcare worker and school volunteer. Ministries include service to Precious Blood, Saint Mary (Lake Forest). Siena High School, Austin Cancer Center, and Maryville Teen Center. She also volunteered at Saint Angela’s School for seven years and was in healthcare ministry at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, and McAuley Manor in Aurora. She now resides in Mercy Circle. Sister Barbara received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SXU in 1963.
Sister Sharon Kerrigan
Sister Sharon Kerrigan, a 1963 graduate of Saint Xavier, was a teacher, principal, campus minister, congregational and mission leader. She served at Saint Irenaeus, Queen of Martyrs, SXU, the Archdiocese of Chicago and Provena Health. She is currently a mission officer for Presence Health.
Sister Joan Lang
Sister Joan Lang graduated from SXU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education in 1964 and was assigned to teaching which she loved. She served as a teacher and principal in the Chicago area and once in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. She then went into pastoral care for six years at Saint Benedict Home in Niles, Ill. Sister Joan then returned to her love of teaching at Saint Angela School in Chicago before retiring.
Jubilarians 50 Years
Sister Margaret Mary Hinz
Sister Margaret Mary Hinz, a Chicago native, graduated in 1971 from Saint Xavier. She ministered within the Archdiocese of Chicago as an elementary teacher at Saint Charles Lwanga School; in finance and administrative roles within the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare System (Oak Park Hospital and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital) and in higher education at the Graham School of Management at Saint Xavier. In the Joliet Diocese her ministry was within Provena Health now Presence Health (Provena Villa Franciscan). Sister Margaret Mary also ministered within the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, at Mercy Hospital now Genesis Medical Center. She has served as a member of the leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy Wes Midwest Community since 2013.
Sister Nancy Swanson
Sister Nancy Swanson, a Chicago native, graduated in 1987 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from SXU. She became a nurse and social worker, serving in healthcare and education. She served at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa, Misericordia Home in Chicago and Mercy Center in Aurora, Ill. She also ministered at Mother McAuley High School and was director of the Courage Program for single moms in Oak Lawn, Ill. She is currently a volunteer.