Sister Ellen Mary Shea entered the Sisters of Mercy on August 30, 1959, following her graduation from high school. Attracted to the Sisters of Mercy by their service to those in need and commitment to empowering people through education, Sister Ellen clearly grasped the opportunity to extend the classroom beyond its walls. To Sister Ellen, the most valuable skill is listening, and the most important quality of life is valuing and understanding the human experience, which differs from person to person.
After earning a B.A. in education from the Diocesan Sisters’ College, Madison in 1963, Sister Ellen received an M.A. in pastoral ministry from the University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, in 1978.
As an elementary school teacher in Connecticut Catholic schools, Sister Ellen was noted for her ability to identify students suffering loneliness, guilt and grief caused by a change in their family structure through death, divorce or separation. Recognizing the magnitude of social needs among these students, Sister Ellen introduced a formal intervention program—Rainbows—and trained educators to facilitate the sessions. Integrating the needs of single parents with the needs of their children, Sister Ellen served as coordinator of the Ministry to Separated and Divorced Catholics in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
As a teacher, counselor, confidant and educational consultant, Sister Ellen has brought hope, acceptance and self-esteem to countless individuals who were suffering in isolation.
Known for her approachable manner, warm smile, pride in her Irish heritage and love of life, Sister Ellen left her footprints on the hearts of those she supported.
Having retired to Saint Mary Home in June 2019, Sister Ellen enjoyed visits from friends, cheering the UCONN Women’s Basketball Team to victory, reading and continuing her prayerful support of those in need.
The Sisters of Mercy are grateful to the Saint Mary Home staff for their compassionate care provided to Sister Ellen.