A living example of what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she served, Mary Lou Kelly was a shining light in the world around her.
The 1920s were a great time to be an American. Prosperity was the dominant force while technology boomed in cities all across our great land. It was within this colorful time that a couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was delighted with the birth of their daughter on May 12, 1922. Mary Louise, or Mary Lou as she was most often known, was the older of two girls born to her parents, Robert M. and Margaret (nee Keliher) Kelly, and was raised in the family home alongside her sister, Jean.
Mary Lou was a humble and gracious woman who devoted her life to caring for others. In 1965 she began working as a social worker for St. Mary’s Hospital. Mary Lou retired in 1985, although she continued to volunteer there. Many of her volunteer efforts were focused on her work with the Daughters of Charity at St. Mary’s Hospital, working on projects both in the hospital and beyond. In recognition of her efforts Mary Lou was awarded Affiliate Membership to the Daughters of Charity on April 6, 1986. This is the highest honor bestowed on the laity by the Daughters of Charity and is granted from their headquarters in France. It is a tribute bestowed on longtime associates of the Daughters of Charity whose daily lives exemplify the spirit of the religious order. At the Mass celebrating this award Sister Mary Ann O’Brien D.C. said of Miss Kelly, “She is an example of Christian living in the midst of turmoil in the world. Mary Lou reaches out in a beautiful way to many people and has a special charisma in helping patients work through their problems.” Mary Lou was also involved with the United Way and the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
Throughout much of her life Mary Lou lived on Milwaukee’s Eastside. She eventually moved to the Milwaukee Catholic Home Residence where she made countless friends. Perhaps Mary Lou’s closest friend was Anne from the pastoral care office at the Catholic Home. Declining health eventually forced her to move to the Milwaukee Catholic Home Health Center where she remained for the rest of her life.
A compassionate, selfless, and humble woman, Mary Lou Kelly was an extraordinary person in every way. She lived a life of purpose while serving countless others within her reach. Mary Lou leaves a shining legacy that provides us all with much to aspire for.
Mary Lou Kelly died on September 14, 2012. Mary Lou’s family includes her cousins, James (Patricia) Keliher, Timothy (Julaine) Keliher, and the late John (Mary) Keliher; and other relatives and friends. Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents and her sister. Visitation will be held on Tues. September 18, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. at The Chapel of St. Anne at the Milwaukee Catholic Home, 2462 N. Prospect Ave. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, Daughter of Charity Foundation, Three Holy Women Parish Legacy Fund, or The Milwaukee Catholic Home. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.
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