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Sister Eleanor McAuliffe

Sister Eleanor McAuliffe

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you.” (Psalm 63:1)

“This afternoon, we come together to celebrate the life and ministry of Sister Eleanor McAuliffe and to revere this caring, compassionate woman,” said Sister Mary Lee Mettler in her commentary for Sister Eleanor, who died March 29.

Nellie Bernadine McAuliffe was one of seven children born to John and Mary O’Connor McAuliffe. Born on March 15, 1914, in Chevy Chase, Md., she attended St. Ann Grade School and St. Patrick High School, both in Washington, D.C. She entered the Congregation Aug. 18, 1932, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1935, and Aug. 15, 1940, respectively. Sister Eleanor earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education administration from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Sister Eleanor commenced teaching grade school at Holy Trinity, New Albany, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne; St. Simon, Washington; and St. Ann, Terre Haute. In Illinois, she taught and served as principal at St. Mary, Aurora. From 1955 to 1961, Sister Eleanor served the Congregation as assistant to the mistress of novices. For six years, she taught and served as principal at Holy Redeemer, Berwyn, Md. Sister Eleanor’s other East Coast ministries included Dunblane and St. Ann, Washington, D.C.; St. Clement, Lansdowne, Md.; St. Ann, Fayetteville, N.C.; and Lady Isle, Portsmouth, and St. Mary, Rochester, N.H.

Starting in 1974, “God called Sister Eleanor to a mosaic of ministries,” said Sister Mary Lee. After four years as a librarian at Dunblane, Sister Eleanor served as a receptionist and visitor to the sick at Immaculata and the Home for Incurables, both in Washington, D.C. She then provided parish service and visited shut-ins at Holy Redeemer Parish, College Park, Md.

“I am certain that her gentleness and concern for others were evident there. I also presume that this labor of love helped her prepare for her own death,” shared Sister Mary Lee. Sister Eleanor returned to the Woods in 1996 and performed community service until 1998 when she moved to health care. Sister Mary Lee continued, “During these many years of work in God’s vineyard, she experienced many of the joys and sorrows of everyday life, but perhaps she felt them more deeply than others might. Her faith, unfailing sense of humor and her constant reverencing of others, along with her patience, carried her through thick and thin. She accepted people for who they were and constantly praised the efforts and successes of those around her. She accepted problematic assignments and trying people with characteristic fortitude.

“We bid goodbye to this grace-filled woman who loved much. She loved her God, her family and her friends. She saw Jesus in every person, place and event, and now she experiences the beatific vision. She sees God face to face,” concluded Sister Mary Lee.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 2, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. Sister Eleanor is survived by one brother, Thomas, Rockville, Md.

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