Monday, July 28, 2014

My Sainted Aunt: Sr. Cely

Sr. Cely 
Dec. 4 1927- July 9 2014

Here is the link to the wonderful sharing about her by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, read aloud at her wake.

My great aunt Sr. Cecilia Ann, or to the family "Sr. Cely", was a tall, gentle, intelligent, patient woman of art and faith. I was lucky to know her a bit when I was in college at St. Mary's. I worked in the art department for my work study, and was sometimes asked to help move large or awkward items for her classes. She loved to construct huge, complex 'still life's with all kinds of crazy and beautiful objects. My freshman roommate had "Sr. Kelly's" drawing class and loved it. By the time I knew her, Sr. Cecilia, tall and broad shouldered, had back pain that affected her ability to stand for long periods or do heavy lifting. Yet she was committed to continuing to teach, and very humble and patient for one so talented.

It was fun to meet and greet people at the wake in the Church of Loretto, including Terrie Ann, Tom Michel, Aunt Margaret, Uncle Ed, Aunt Alice, my parents Paul and Patty and others. I made diagrams later on in the evening when we were socializing at Tom's house, trying to map out where we all fell in the family. I just say 'cousins' sometimes; we are all descendants of the same two people! (Folks, if you read this, email me your pics from the evening, so I can put some here for the clan!)

The wake was simple and respectful, not too somber. I was very moved by this prayer we all read together while a frail looking little nun moved over to the coffin and sprinkled Sr. Cely all over with holy water:
God dwells in the temple of the heavens, yet abides in our midst.
Since in baptism Sister Cecilia Ann became God's temple
and the Spirit of God lived in her,
We reverently bless her mortal body. 

At Sr. Cely's wake, a middle aged nun from Sr. Cely's community came up to me, where I was seated with other members of the family, and shared with us. She said that Sr. Cely taught her an art class when she was 13 years old, (I guess at a high school where Sisters of Holy Cross were teaching) and that Sr. Cely was one of the reasons she later 'entered' and became a sister herself. And this little sister shared that she was herself about to celebrate her own 50th jubilee (anniversary as a sister of Holy Cross)!

Below is the obit published in the local paper:

Sister M. Cecilia Ann Kelly, C.S.C. Dec. 4, 1927 - July 9, 2014 NOTRE DAME - A Sister of the Holy Cross for 63 years, Sister M. Cecilia Ann died in peace at Saint Mary's Convent at the age of 86. She had two aunts who were Sisters of the Holy Cross who preceded her in death. She was born in Akron, Ohio, one of nine children, where her early education took place. She earned her B.A. from Saint Mary's College and then a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Utah. For over 50 years she was both and artist and art professor and the majority of those years were spent on the faculty of Saint Mary's College. Many of her beautiful art works hang on the walls here on Saint Mary's Campus. She valued her meeting with Salvador Dali in Spain and her friendship with Georgia O'Keefe. Through art, Sister Cecilia Ann felt blessed, knowing that her talent and her vocation in life as a religious had come together. Reception of the body and wake service on Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. with Mass of the Resurrection on Monday, July 14, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. All ceremonies in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. Memorial contributions can be made to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Ministry with the Poor, Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or online at -

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I especially enjoyed reading about the nun from Sr. Cely's high school art class "entering" in part due to Sr. Cely's positive influence.


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