Sister Mary Leone Kelley was a Sister of Mercy for 60 years. Sister Mary was a 1962 graduate of Cathedral High School and that same year entered the Sisters of Mercy at St. Joseph’s Convent, Portland. She graduated from Joseph College with a bachelor’s degree in 1970. Several years later, she received her CNA Certificate from Southern Maine Technical College.
In her early years as a religious, Sister Mary served in various capacities throughout many parishes in the Diocese of Portland. She found her true calling to social action through her involvement with St. Mary’s Parish in Presque Isle as she first worked in St. Mary’s Food Pantry and the Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter. With a listening ear and a cheerful heart, Sister Mary continued to provide food, shelter, clothing, and heat to those in need. As the years passed, Sister Mary’s work continued to reach beyond other areas of need in the parish. She ministered to the homebound, was an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, and helped establish GIFT, a not-for-profit ecumenical food pantry. She was involved in providing training in the ACTS Retreat throughout Aroostook County.
Sister Mary also used her creative ability to sew, quilt, and knit various crafty objects that she donated to the yearly parish fair. While in the County, Sister Mary met many seminarians who assisted in the various churches during the summer. She was always sent an invitation to attend the ordination of these seminarians and did so with much appreciation and respect for their vocation. Sister Mary had the opportunity to go to Rome, and the highlight of her trip was having her picture taken with Pope John Paul II. Motivated by a deep love for God and her commitment to Church and Community Life, Sister Mary volunteered to return to the Portland area to help elderly Sisters with cooking needs. She also became an active member of the Daughters of Isabella in Westbrook. Life for her did not stop here. With help from her friends and acquaintances, she continued to seek out the needs of the homeless and needy throughout the greater Portland area, hosting meals at a local facility on Thanksgiving and Christmas while providing all with small gifts to let them know they were not forgotten.