Sister Mary Caffrey shared the desire and compassion of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, as she met the needs of the people she encountered.
Entering the Sisters of Mercy in Cumberland, Rhode Island, in 1946, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Catholic Teachers College in Providence, Rhode Island, and a master’s degree in administration from Xavier College in Chicago, Illinois. Initially she taught elementary school for 18 years in the Falls River, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island dioceses. Her leadership ability was recognized early, so she served as principal at three different grade schools in the Providence diocese.
She was appointed to the Provincial Council and later ministered at Mount St Rita Health Centre in Providence, Rhode Island, for six years as a director of volunteers. As a pastoral associate to parishioners in need at the Church of the Assumption Parish in Providence Rhode Island, she shared her compassion, welcome, smile and kind words to those who approached the door seeking necessities like food, clothing, and shelter.
Spending quiet time with God was the heart of her spirituality. Her final two years were as a resident at Grand Islander, a nursing home in Middleton, Rhode Island. She always had a smile for the staff and often shared her beloved chocolates with them. From students to the needy approaching the door for help, to workers in nursing care, those who saw Mary saw the love of God.