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Sister Brigid Mary Hurley

Sister Brigid Mary Hurley, also known as Brig or Mary, died on April 4 at Union Hospital. She was born on July 8, 1941, in Malden, Massachusetts, to Timothy and Bridget Manning Hurly and was baptized Mary Ellen, said Sister Jane Iannaccone in her commentary for Sister Brigid Mary Hurley, who passed away on Thursday, April 4, 2019. She was 77 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 59 years.

Sister Jane continued: Sister Brigid Mary is survived by three brothers – Tim, Mike and Neil – who are present with their wives Ann Marie, Barbara and Kathy. Brigid is also survived by 12 nieces and nephews, three of whom are also with us: Tommy, Terry and Teddy. Brig is also survived by 23 great-nieces and nephews.

Sister Brigid Mary entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on July 22, 1959, and professed final vows on Aug. 15, 1967. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in elementary education. In her 59, almost 60 years as a Sister of Providence, she taught primary and middle grades for 49 years in schools in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts. She retired from teaching in 2013, but remained in Massachusetts, serving her sisters in a variety of ways. She returned to the Motherhouse in 2018, where she dedicated herself totally to the ministry of prayer.

Brigid was taught by the Sisters of Providence at Cheverus School in Malden during her elementary and high school years. When she was planning to enter the Congregation, she said “If I can’t beat them, I will join them.” During her teaching career, she returned to her beloved Cheverus School, where she taught for 16 years.

Sister’s wit was legendary. She was always ready with a humorous comment and quick retort. In her teaching, she embodied Saint Mother Theodore Guerin’s exhortation to “love the children first, and then teach them.”

Wherever she taught, she was loved and admired by both the faculty and students. When she taught, she tried to portray a tough persona but the children saw right through that and knew she had a kind heart. She was firm, but fair, and children were drawn to her like a magnet.

When she taught the children, she was very practical. One example of this was when she taught them how to write a letter. She had them write to one of the sister’s brothers who was serving in Vietnam. She also had them write to her brother Neil. He said that at one roll call he received more than 40 letters. He was the envy of all his comrades.

Two years ago, I attended an award ceremony where Sister Brigid was one of the recipients. She never had the opportunity to eat her dinner as former students constantly approached the table to greet her and thank her.

Brigid Mary was a tomboy growing up. There was more than one occasion when she beat up a boy because he picked on her brother Mick.

Sister Brigid had a playful nature. When Sister Kathleen Leonard first met her, she was playing catch with Sister Ruth Johnson in the garden at St. Rose. They didn’t have a ball, so they used an orange.

When we moved from Sacred Hearts Convent in Malden to the house in Wakefield, the pastor gave her a car to use. He made her sign a contract that the car would be solely used by her to commute back and forth to school and not used for anything else, so she named the car SOLELY. Shortly after this, we adopted a dog which was named Tutti, which means everybody’s in Italian.

She taught all her nieces and nephews how to make a cupcake sandwich. When her great-niece and nephew were told of her death, they had a cupcake sandwich party in her honor and sent the picture to Tim and Ann Marie.

She was well known for sending cards for all occasions at least two weeks ahead of time. Last week, she gave her brother Tim his birthday card. His birthday is today.

Her brother Neil always hosted the annual Christmas Eve party. If a sister in the convent had no place to go, she would automatically become part of the Hurley family gathering.

Sister Brigid endured many hardships in her life. She had great devotion toward her parents and was devastated when they died within a month of each other. Brigid was diagnosed with cancer three times. She fought through her illness and treatments with great courage. Last year, just before she came home, she had a compound fracture of her leg. The doctors were not sure if she would walk again, but she did.

Her great love and devotion to Saint Mother Theodore was what got her through these hardships. In fact, I was told that most of the candles that are presently lit at her shrine were for Sister Brigid.

One way Brigid’s presence was always known here at Providence Hall was the clack, clack, clack of her amigo. We knew she was coming. Then, when she arrived, there was the beep, beep, beep of her life vest. At the end of evening prayer, she would alert the prayer group of the menu for that night’s supper.

Even though Sister Brigid was only home for the past eight months, she touched the sisters and staff with her compassion, warmth and sense of humor.

Sister Brigid had her dry wit to the very end. When her time with us was coming to an end, one of the nurses told her, “God has a plan for you that you don’t have for yourself.” Brigid retorted back, “Thank you, Billy Graham.”

Our sister will be greatly missed, but I am sure she was greeted by her loving God’s welcome of “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Funeral services for Sister Brigid Mary took place on Monday, April 8, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

A Wake took place at 9 a.m., followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m.

We welcome you to share your memories of Sister Brigid Mary in the comment section below.

Sister Brigid Mary Hurley

Teacher for 49 years in schools in Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

In Indiana: Cathedral, Fort Wayne (1964).

In Massachusetts: St. Rose, Chelsea (1964-67); Cheverus, Malden (1971-77); Cheverus, Malden (1984-94); St. Rose, Chelsea (1994-2013).

In Maryland: St. Clement, Lansdowne (1967-71).

In North Carolina: St. Joan of Arc, Ashville (1977-80).

In Washington, D.C.: Dunblane (1980-84).

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7 Comments

  1. Madonna Buchanan on April 8, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Where did she teach?

  2. Sr M Lorraine on April 8, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Sr Brigid was a wonderful sister. I didn’t know her well but met her several times and enjoyed her wit and good-natured humor. She courageously battled cancer and was undaunted. She was a woman of great faith and prayer.

  3. Carol McCarthy, (formerly Sister Aileen, SP) on April 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Sister Bridget Mary always brought a smile when she entered a room, and often left amidst uproarious laughter. I did not need to know that she was raised amidst all boys–that was evident.

    I was a year behind her (Band of 1960) . Bridget’s antics at bat-fighting and mouse patrol were legendary. When we were in the novitiate she would seize a broom and enthusiastically go on ‘mouse patrol’ while others took to chairs or fled the battlefield. But it was at bat-fighting when we were junior sisters that she excelled. At 9PM grand silence would be marked in Providence by the tolling of bells in the big church. The bats would leave the church area and fly down to the stairwell in Prov, circling around in that wide space. Bridget would have a broom and attempt to strike one, but their radar prevented her for having any success. Still, she put her heart and soul into the endeavor, and it was quite the sight to watch in silence!

    She will be missed for her enthusiasm and zest for life!

  4. Jack Schene on April 9, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    I was a former student of Sister Brigid Mary 50 (!!) years ago in Maryland and still remember her and the impact she had on us. I had no idea she was only in her mid-twenties she had such a personality about her. Anyway, my story is I brought my new Johnny Unitas football to school. She took the ball and told me to go out for a pass!! I was so nervous, felt the whole school was watching and what if I dropped it? It felt like she threw it 50 yards and it stayed in the air forever but somehow I caught it and it was the happiest day of my grade school life I think!

  5. Peter MacNeil on April 9, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Rest in Peace dear friend
    Peter MacNeil
    St Rose School
    Chelsea, MA

  6. Tom Gaudet on April 13, 2019 at 3:37 am

    Sister Brigid Mary was my 5th grade teacher at Cheverus School, Malden, MA. She was an incredibly funny, warm, and caring person with a big heart. Some of my favorite memories:

    I remember watching the Watergate hearings in her classroom. She did a great impression of Richard Nixon. She would raise both arms over her head, both hands formed in the trademark peace sign, while shaking her jowls and declaring, “I am not a crook!”

    Just as she herself did after evening prayer in Novitiate, she assigned to me, as class President, the duty of announcing the following day’s cafeteria menu, so the kids would know whether they should buy lunch or bring one from home. Whenever Sloppy Joe’s were on the menu, she would call them “Disorderly Josephs.”

    To this day, when someone tells me a “sad” story about how put out they are over something seemingly negligible, I respond with a Sister Brigid Mary-ism: “My heart bleeds peanut butter for you!”

    Lots of fun memories with Sister Brigid Mary. I am grateful for having known her and for the impact she had on my life. May she rest in peace.

  7. Marjorie Doto on May 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Sister Brigid and SIster Kathleen we neighbors here in Wakefield, MA. Sister Brigid was an amazing woman and I saw then Saturdays at St Joseph Church during Mass. I was so sad when they moved back to the Motherhouse. Sister Brigid always had a story to tell and was such an amazing person. She will be greatly missed.

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