Sr. Mary Conway, CSJ, entered eternal life on Sept. 14, 2021.
Mary Theresa Conway was born in Kilkenny County, Ireland, on Nov. 28, 1932, the daughter of William and Mary (O’Shea) Conway. She was a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Lake Orion, Michigan at the time of her entrance into the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth on July 1, 1952. She received the name Sister William Marie at her reception on Jan. 3, 1953, but later returned to her baptismal name. She pronounced first vows on Jan. 3, 1955, and final vows Jan. 3, 1958.
Sister Mary attended St. Rita High School and then graduated from Nazareth College in 1967 with a degree in History. She began her ministry in teaching at St. David’s in Detroit, Michigan. For the next several years Sister Mary taught in several Michigan schools: St. Joan of Arc in St. Clair Shores, St. Joseph in Lake Orion, and then at Holy Maternity in Dowagiac. She was an educator as well as Principal at St. John Justin’s in Hazel Park, and St. Elizabeth in Wyandotte.
Her love of teaching and working with children led her to several other schools in the Dioceses of Detroit, Kalamazoo and Lansing including St. John Bosco, St. Elizabeth, St. Mary and St. Therese. Sister Mary also taught Religious Education at St. Mary House of Prayer in Pinckney, Michigan. From 1980-2002 Sister Mary taught grades 5-6 at St. Veronica’s in Eastpointe, Michigan before becoming a tutor/volunteer at the Dominican Literacy Center and as a Spiritual Care Assistant at St. John Senior Community both in Detroit, Michigan. In June, 2011, Sister Mary retired and moved to Nazareth Center, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Sister Mary’s smiling countenance welcomed all. She was very proud of her Irish heritage. Despite leaving her country of origin as a young teenager, she faithfully kept up with the news from Ireland via the internet. She cherished family members and kept in close contact with relatives around the world by letter-writing and phone calls. In community, she stayed involved and supportive. Many lives were touched by her kind service. One never heard a judgmental word from her. She worked hard and was a very selfless person. A most positive and prayerful woman, Sister Mary had great devotion to the Eucharist and to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She spent countless hours before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration, intercession and praying the rosary. Surely now she enjoys intimate companionship with her Beloved Lord and his blessed Mother.
A funeral Mass was celebrated and live-streamed from Holy Family Chapel at Nazareth Center, Kalamazoo, on Friday, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. EST followed by burial in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Nazareth Center, Kalamazoo.