Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Tribute to Social Justice Advocate Sister Mary McNellis

We all have stories and anecdotes of how we first became involved in Bread for the World. For me, it was back in the early 1980s, and I was fairly new to Kansas City. I had just become involved with the social justice group for the Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and I wanted to put most of my energies on one issue: hunger.

I met Mary McNellis, a Sister of Loretto, at one of the meetings of Catholics for Justice.  We talked about anti-hunger efforts in Kansas City, and she mentioned that she was part of the Bread for the World group in the Missouri Fifth District that met at Visitation Parish every month.  Even though I was somewhat aware of Bread for the World from my days in New Orleans, I hadn't fully embraced the organization. I will always remember Mary McNellis as the person who invited me to become fully involved in Bread for the World

Sister Mary McNellis, passed away on Monday, July 23, at the age of 102,

For as long as she could, Mary McNellis was involved in the work of justice, whether it was economic justice, nuclear disarmament or peacemaking.

And while Mary McNellis was passionate about social justice, my wife Karen (who joined as a lay member  of the Loretto community in Kansas City) remembers  her for joie de vivre.

Here's a note from a 2010 edition of tbe Loretto community newsletter Interchange.

"Sister Mary McNellis SL celebrated her 100th birthday on March 6,. 2010, with mass and two parties in Kansas City, Missouri. Mary wore green and a big smile."

Here is a nice card that the Loretto Community created in honor of Sister Mary McNellis.

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