Sister Mary Sullivan, a deeply spiritual woman and religious scholar, inspired, often challenged and encouraged many to live mercifully.
A prolific writer about the life and mission of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Mary shared the Mercy story with thousands through her teaching, books, seminars and retreats all over the world.
Her books include The Correspondence of Catherine McAuley, 1818-1841 (2004), Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy (1995) and The Path of Mercy: The life of Catherine McAuley (2012). She also edited several books and many articles on Catherine’s compassionate service to people who were poor, sick and uneducated. She published numerous scholarly articles, including a rhetorical study of the autobiography of Teresa of Avila.
A graduate of Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, New York, Sister Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Nazareth College in Rochester, followed by a master’s and doctoral degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. She also received a master’s degree in systemic theology from the University of London, England.
She taught in the Rochester diocese for seven years, before teaching for two years at her alma mater, Our Lady of Mercy High School, and serving as president for two years at the former Catherine McAuley College on the same campus. She joined the teaching staff at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, for two years. Next, she ministered at the Rochester Institute of Technology for 33 years as a professor of language and literature, and for ten years as the first female dean of the College of Liberal Arts. The college established two annual writing awards sponsored by the women’s and gender studies program named after Sister Mary Sullivan.