Sister Maureen Kelley, Age 77

West Midwest

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Sister Maureen Kelley was born in Oakland, California, and attended Catholic schools. Her father ran a mortuary and the family lived upstairs. This early exposure to death and grief helped Sister Maureen prepare for her later role working with hospice patients. After high school, she entered the Sisters of the Holy Names, but seven months later her mother died, and Sister Maureen left the community to care for ill members of her family.

She took a job at a bank and studied theology at the University of San Francisco and the Franciscan School of Theology, then went to work as program director of Support Services for Seniors at Catholic Charities in Oakland.

Sister Maureen met the Sisters of Mercy at Mercy Retirement and Care Center. She said that she saw that, “The spirit of Mercy was alive and well there. People were honored and treasured no matter what condition they were in. I began thinking about religious life again.” She entered the Community in 1995 and professed her vows in 1999. 

Sister Maureen earned a certificate in clinical pastoral education from UCSF in 2000. She served as a chaplain for San Diego Hospice from 2000 to 2012, accompanying people in the inpatient hospice unit. She was known for her sense of humor and her ability to connect with people of all faiths and ages and easily relate to them.

“Hospice is about living, not dying,” said Sister Maureen. “I’ve planned weddings, high school graduations, retirements from the Navy and declared Christmas in early December. It’s intense but not depressing at all.”

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