Cover photo for Sr. Marguerite Kelly's Obituary
Sr. Marguerite Kelly Profile Photo
1938 Sr. Marguerite 2021

Sr. Marguerite Kelly

January 15, 1938 — January 25, 2021

Sr. M. Marguerite Kelly, MFIC

January 15, 1938 – January 25, 2021

Bridget Ita Kelly was born in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland to Patrick and Catherine Egan Kelly.  Bridie, as she was called by her family, was the fifth of 16 children. She is pre-deceased by her brothers Paddy, Sean and her sister Teresa and is survived by her siblings Anna, Kathleen, Lily, Seamus, Michael, Peadar, Maura, Philomena, Helen, Gerry, Liam and Ciaran.  Her family remained a source of comfort and strength to her up to her final days.

Bridie entered the Juniorate in Bloomfield and in October 1954 went to Rome to become a Postulant.  Following Postulancy, Bridie now known as Sr. M. Marguerite became a Novice and made her First Profession of vows on May 23, 1957.  By August that same year, she was at her first mission in Philadelphia, PA where she began her ministry as a primary teacher.  She continued serving as a teacher for the next 13 years in schools in Chestnut Hill, MA and Union City, NJ.  Marguerite said recently to one of the Sisters that she loved her years teaching.

It was so appropriate that the Gospel on the day Marguerite went to God was Mark 16:15-18 and contained the line “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” In 1971 she responded to the call to go to the foreign missions and left for Bolivia where she would spend the next 11 years working mainly with women and with CENAFI (Center for the Formation of Leaders Among the Oppressed).  In 1980 she returned to Boston for further studies and then generously answered the call to Province Leadership by serving as Councilor from 1982-88.  Those who lived with her in community recall her wonderful baking skills and her willingness to always help in whatever way she could.  From 1988-90 she served as a Caregiver in our Tenafly Infirmary and in 1990 again responded to the call to the foreign missions by going to Lima, Peru where she served as Novice Director.  In 1994 she returned to the US and ministered as Pastoral Associate in parishes in East Haven, CT; Lawrence and Methuen MA.  Her facility with Spanish as well as her organizational and leadership skills made her an asset in each place where she ministered.

In 2004 Marguerite entered a new ministry which connected to her Irish roots, when she became Executive Director of the Irish Pastoral Center in Dorchester, MA.  Even after she stepped down from that position in 2011, she remained on as Spiritual Director until 2016.  She dressed impeccably for the many events held at the Pastoral Center, which she always enjoyed.  Marguerite was much loved for her kindness and outreach to all there and many tributes have been posted on their web site.  Among the many comments, some of the qualities people mentioned were:  “…one of God’s chosen…as close to a Saint/Angel as you would ever meet…such a gentle, kind lady who was a great source of strength and support to many in their time of need…her caring and support were momentous…truly a much loved and warm lady…who worked tirelessly for others…a life well lived, filled with genuine kindness and always nonjudgmental…strong compassionate and humble leadership…offered many families and individuals comfort, hope and solutions in difficult situations…sense of humor and her perspective was inspiring.” 

Marguerite’s health had been deteriorating for some time and her community at Mount Alvernia Convent lovingly supported her during this time and during the sad loss of her dear sister, Teresa who passed away on October 14, 2018.  In February 2020, Marguerite agreed that a move to our Infirmary in Tenafly, NJ would now be best for her.

Although this was not an easy move for her, Marguerite slowly adjusted to her return to Tenafly not as a Caregiver this time, but to one being cared for. She expressed gratitude to the Nurses and Caregivers for what they did for her and she endeared herself to them.  Her family remained a constant source of support for her and while they and all of us in Tenafly are sad that she is no longer with us, we are happy that her suffering is over.  May she who lived her life so selflessly and generously, now enjoy the peace and joy of being reunited with her family in the loving embrace of our Creator. 

Rest in peace, dear Marguerite.

With love,

Your Franciscan Sisters

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Missionary Franciscan Sisters Retirement Fund, 790 Centre St. Newton MA 02458-2539

The service will be live streamed at

A link for the livestream will be live on the obituary on Monday at 10 AM

To send flowers to the family in memory of Sr. Marguerite Kelly, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Mass

Monday, February 1, 2021

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Our Lady of the Angels Convet

253 Knickerbocker Rd., Tenafly, NJ 07670

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