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Sister Frances Maureen McGrory

Sister Frances Maureen McGrory

“Those who humble themselves like this child, such are the greatest in the realm of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)

“Sister Frances Maureen was a loyal and devoted sister, aunt and friend to many. She was a true and dedicated Sister of Providence carrying on the mission of the Congregation to the very end,” said Sister Nancy Nolan in her commentary for Sister Frances Maureen McGrory, who died March 26, 2011.

Frances Mary McGrory was born July 23, 1927, in Boston, the oldest of 12 children of Daniel and Winifred (Ryan) McGrory. The family moved to Chicago when Frances was very young where she attended St. Mel Grade School. She graduated from Providence High School and entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1946. Sister Frances Maureen professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1948, and Aug. 25, 1953, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Indiana State University.

Sister Frances Maureen began teaching in 1948 at Sacred Heart, Evansville, Ind. In Indiana, her classrooms also included St. Susanna, Plainfield; St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne; and Nativity, Indianapolis. In Illinois she served as a teacher or principal at St. Angela and St. Francis Borgia, Chicago, and St. Domitilla School, Hillside.

“I was assigned in 1965 to St. Angela which was thriving with over 1,200 students, three classes of each grade from 1 to 8. Many a night we spent in the basement of the convent with the mimeograph machine running off 1,200 copies of letters to parents, or booklists or newsletters, counting them and putting them in piles according to class sizes,” shared Sister Nancy.

“Sister Frances Maureen was what we call in community a ‘real school woman.’ She kept up on all the new school trends and implemented them. Sister Frances Maureen knew how to hire good teachers, coach them and how to handle the students and parents. She made many friends and kept in touch for years,” said Sister Nancy.

“Sister Frances Maureen knew when to be kind and when to be stern with the students. She told of the eighth-grade boy who called the office pretending to be his father reporting that James was sick and would not be in school. Unfortunately for that young man Sister Frances Maureen happened to answer the phone. ‘James, are you sick?’ ‘No, Sister.’ ‘You get up to this school immediately.’ ‘Yes, Sister.’ Fifteen minutes later the boy appeared in the office. Sister Frances Maureen laughed so hard telling us the story at dinner.

“Sister Frances Maureen knew the circumstances of the families in the school. I recently had a graduate of St. Angela who went on to Mother Guerin High School tell me she came from a large family that had two children in high school and five at St. Angela when her father died suddenly. She said her mother never received another tuition bill from the school and all the younger children finished at St. Angela. ‘Our family will never forget the kindness of Sister Frances Maureen,’ she said. The young woman went on to dental school and for several years was Sister Frances Maureen’s dentist. When I told her that Sister Frances Maureen was at the Woods she said, ‘Oh, I’ll be happy to drive down there and take care of her teeth,’” said Sister Nancy.

From 1983 to 1991, Sister Frances Maureen was elected a member of the provincial team of St. Joseph Providence, Park Ridge, Ill.

“In 1998, Sister Frances Maureen retired to Mother Guerin Convent in River Grove, Ill., but volunteered her mornings every day for nine years as bookkeeper for Providence Family Services at Maternity BVM in Chicago. When she realized she was slipping a bit, she voluntarily gave up driving. In the summer of 2008 she went home to the Woods for community meetings, had a fall and never returned to Guerin,” said Sister Nancy.

“Through all of the years Sister Frances Maureen remained quite close to her family. Many a trip she made to the south side for the South Side St. Patrick’s Day parade. And in such a large family there were always baptisms, first communions, weddings and numerous occasions for get-togethers. And, sadly enough, funerals. The family has lost four sisters and two brothers.

“I am sure Sister Frances Maureen would want to end with a word of thanks to all those in Mother Theodore West who cared for her with such love. She would always say, ‘They are so good to us.’

“So let us rest assured that as Sister Frances Maureen made the journey through death into eternal life she was received with the words ‘Well done my good and faithful servant, come and receive the reward that has been prepared for you for all eternity,’” concluded Sister Nancy.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Frances Maureen was celebrated March 31, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by four sisters, Colleen Cunningham of Chicago; Ellen Leeders of Elmwood Park, Ill.; Maureen Meister of Palatine, Ill.; and Sister Jean McGrory, DC, of Taiwan. She is also survived by one brother, Daniel, of Chicago.

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