Two things kept Sister Mary Cecile going: God’s presence and music, a way we can pray without words.
The youngest of seven children, Mary Cecile was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, gifted with perfect pitch. She was known for her ability to adapt and transpose music, often in a way that reflected her wonderful sense of humor.
While praying alone, she had a deep sense that she would become a sister and followed that call. After graduating from St. Joseph’s Cathedral High School in San Diego, California, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1955 in Burlingame, California.
For five years she taught piano at Mercy School of Music in Burlingame then taught elementary grades for 25 years in the San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles archdioceses. Next she ministered as a pastoral minister for four years at parishes in Los Angeles and San Diego. She
started the chaplaincy program at Mercy Home Care, San Diego, and two years later served on a task force merging the programs at Mercy and Scripps hospitals in San Diego. For many years, she ministered as a chaplain at Mercy Scripps.
She loved meeting people in their own environment and helping them find meaning and acceptance in their lives. The gift of music was a frequent and very appreciated adjunct to her visits. For many years, she frequently played the piano on the hospital units and in the lobby at Mercy Scripps to the delight of patients, visitors and staff and after she moved to St. Paul’s Villa in San Diego, she played in the resident’s dining room.