Sr. Mary Kelly, RSM

Sr. Mary Kelly, RSM, a Sister of Mercy for 54 years, entered fullness of life at St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Livonia, on April 6, at the age of 71.

Born Oct. 6, 1946, Mary made perpetual vows on Aug. 8, 1970. Her initial assignments were teaching French in Michigan at Port Huron Catholic Central; Mount Mercy Academy, Grand Rapids; and Immaculata High School, Detroit. After earning a master’s in business administration from Michigan State University, she served as treasurer for the Mercy Sisters’ Detroit Province.

Upon completion of her term, Sr. Kelly became president of Mercy Services for the Aging, a subsidiary of Mercy Health Services. To work more closely with those experiencing poverty and homelessness, Mary became controller for Detroit’s Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and, later, associate director for Southwest Detroit Community Mental Health Services. In 1992, she formed her own Management Consulting Services company, and later became acting chair of Health Services Administration, Health Services and Health Care Education in the College of Health Professions at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Sr. Kelly earned her doctorate in public health from the University of Michigan. As associate professor in the College of Health Professions and chair of the Health Services Management program, she taught a variety of courses with a focus on health care policy.

Sr. Kelly assisted the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in developing a financial plan for the larger community, including Central and South America, and she continued to serve as financial consultant for the Caribbean, Central and South American (CCASA) region, and was instrumental in the formation of Mercy Investment Services and served on the board of St. Joseph Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana.

Sr. Kelly also completed and published an academic article (co-authored with Dr. Maureen Anthony) titled, “The Last Generation of Sister Administrators: Insights about the transition of Catholic Hospital Leadership” in American Catholic Studies 125(3). The article received the Catholic Press Association’s first place award for best feature article in a scholarly journal. Mary’s goal was to correct the history of health care in the United States to include the work of religious women who made significant — but untold — contributions.

A funeral Mass was celebrated for Sr. Kelly at Mercy Center Chapel in Farmington Hills on April 11. Burial was to follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.