Age 86

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, one of nine children, Sister Ada Marie served in numerous ministries, including elementary education in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, and hospital chaplaincy and social work in Cincinnati, Ohio.

She graduated from Cathedral High School of the Incarnation in Nashville, Tennessee, and entered the Sisters of Mercy the same year in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Our Lady of Cincinnati College and her master’s degree in educational administration from Memphis State University in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1982, she became the administrator of Catholic Charities of Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1990 she was appointed coordinator/administrator of the Sisters of Mercy at St. Bernard Convent and later at Mercy Convent, Pennington Bend, both in Nashville, Tennessee. Five years later, she became the founding executive director of the Lester Tune Home Place in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a housing ministry for people living with HIV/AIDS. By caring for the most vulnerable and abandoned by society at that time, she felt she truly followed in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

Cecelia as she was known to her friends liked to impersonate the trail-blazing Southern female comedian, Minnie Pearl. In 1987, Cecelia was named Queen of the Kudzu Ball, a charitable night of frolic, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Once she interrupted a burglar robbing her home. He fled leaving $3.50 behind. She used that money to buy raffle tickets for a local school and ended up winning the raffle and $500 and becoming a local celebrity.

In 2007, she retired to Mercy Convent in Nashville where she ministered to the sisters in the infirmary. She especially enjoyed calling bingo for them. She prayed daily for the spiritual and temporal needs of the employees who loved and cared for her and all the sisters there.