Feature Story

Sister Mary T. Kelleher was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where she grew up with her parents, two brothers and a sister. "We lived in Saint Mark's Parish and walked to church as a family every Sunday, meeting cousins and friends and neighbors along the way," she said. "It was a great time to grow up."

Sister Mary T.'s mother grew up in Boston and her father emigrated from Ireland. Her family belonged to an Irish Social Club where Mary (as she was known before the Sister Mary T days) took step dancing and participated in many activities along with her siblings and friends.

She attended Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury, Massachusetts and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur the February after her graduation. Sister Mary T. then taught in elementary and high schools for several years including teaching Latin at Cardinal Cushing High School in South Boston.

"My parents died within a year of one another when my sister was thirteen," she recalled. " I was missioned to Cardinal Cushing when my sister was a freshman there. I will always be grateful that I could be available to my sister at that time." After serving at Cardinal Cushing, Sister Mary T. taught at Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts before receiving an assignment to study Catechetics in Belgium. "It took a little time to get used to taking graduate courses in French, but it was a great program," she said.

She was then missioned to Emmanuel College in Boston where she co-directed the Religious Education Training Center with Sister Claudia Blanchette.
Her next assignment was as Assistant Director of Residents working with Sister Ann Rachel who was the Director. "This was the early 1970's, a time of great change. Students were involved in anti-war, government and institution issues. They would ask Sister Ann Rachel and me to attend and we always did. It was never dull."

In 1983, Sister Mary T. left her role as Dean and studied English as a Second Language at Georgetown University, returning to teach ESL at Saint Gregory's School in Dorchester. She then served as a member of the Boston Province Leadership Team.

Sister Mary T. returned to Emmanuel in 1990 where she served in Academic Advising for twenty years. Currently, she volunteers two days a week at Emmanuel in the Academic Advising Department. This past April, she also began tutoring a student in citizen preparation through the Notre Dame Bridge Center at du Lac in Worcester through electronic communications. "I do this remotely via a Zoom meeting with an individual student. It is a new approach and is working well."

Sister Mary T. is an avid walker, enjoys cross-stitch, music, reading and time spent with family and friends. "I am grateful to the good God for my life in Notre Dame. I am grateful for the people I have met, the good friends I have made and for varied experiences I have had. I feel truly blessed."