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Sister Mary (Anna Marie) Mulligan S.N.D.deN, died Wednesday, September 27, 2023. She was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1930. Beloved daughter of the late Anthony & Anna T. (Sullivan) Mulligan. Sister of Donald A. Mulligan and the late John Mulligan, C. Eileen Tangvik, Francis J. Mulligan, Rev. William L. Mulligan, SJ, Ann Mulligan and her best friend Eunice O’Connor. Survived by three generations of many loving nieces and nephews as well as many Sisters of Notre Dame, including her loving community of 53 years, Sr. Carol Hood and Sr. Louise Kearns.
In 1950, Sister Mary became a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur, a Congregation founded to serve the educational needs, especially of the poor.
Committed to education and social justice, Sister Mary was always very involved in her community. As needs presented themselves, she responded with passion and insight. She became a teacher of English and Literature, earning a Bachelor's degree from Emmanuel College and a Master’s from Boston College, both in English. After teaching at St. Gregory’s School in Dorchester and St. Mary’s High School in Cambridge, Sister Mary was missioned to her alma mater, Cardinal Cushing Central High (CCCH). In time she was called upon to become Principal. As administrator, she oversaw the delivery of a high quality educational experience for a diverse population of young women.
In 1968, when the Sisters were asked to be more present in their local community, Sister Mary, Sister Louise and Sister Carol moved out of the convent and into the D Street Housing Development. As neighbors, they became actively engaged in working with and supporting the residents.
Beginning in the early 1970s, the Sisters ran a “Fun in the Sun” program every summer for children ages three to thirteen. “That first summer, with a staggering budget of $62.83, one thousand broken crayons and 11 SND’s, they welcomed hundreds of young children.” To this day, this unique program continues.
For several years, Mary assisted at the St. Peter & Paul Parish’s CCD program helping children with special needs prepare for their first Holy Communion. It was her most heartfelt ministry.
When the Archdiocese closed CCCH, Sister Mary and Sister Maria Delaney led the efforts to establish an adult education program which became known as the Notre Dame Education Center. The Center offered hope to hard working adults, including new immigrants, who came to school at night to earn their GED, allowing them to improve their lives and communities.
After retiring from teaching at the Notre Dame Education Center, Sister Mary enjoyed volunteering at the Boston Home, a healthcare facility for disabled adults. She spent time reading and discussing short stories and poems with the residents.
On the occasion of her 75th Jubilee in 2022, Sister Mary said that she was grateful for her mission to teach, to have had the courage to move out of the convent, and also for the summers spent with the children at ‘Fun in the Sun.’ “It kept me young and appreciative of the goodness of people.”
Sister Mary’s gifts were many and she shared them by simply being who she was, an active member of her community working tirelessly to make it a better place to live. But first and foremost, Mary was a TEACHER. She treasured the relationships that she made with her students and is fondly remembered by many of them.
Mary’s commitment, caring and love were carried forth to each member of her family. She enjoyed special relationships with all her siblings, and was a dedicated advocate and friend to her younger sister Ann who was born with Down’s Syndrome. They shared a special bond that brought them both great joy.
Mary created an individual relationship with everyone in her three generations of nieces and nephews. She rarely turned down an opportunity to attend family gatherings – birthdays, graduations, school activities, holidays, and Humarock beach days. She always found the perfect card for all occasions and often would call just to say “Hello, I am thinking of you.”
She was a lifelong resident of Boston and was passionate about the Boston Celtics. She rarely missed watching a game regardless of the hour. She knew the stats on all the players and appreciated any opportunity to participate in a discussion about their playoff potential.
Mary was an avid reader and loved participating in her family book group. She enjoyed all types of music and theatre, particularly Irish folk music, and she was often seen on the dance floor at social events. She grew up in the city but so appreciated all the nature around her - from the ocean waves in Maine, to the birds and flowers in her backyard. Mary and her long-time best friend Euni had many adventures travelling within the US and Europe, and to visit relatives in Ireland. Mary also went on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of St. Julie Billiart.
Sister Mary’s funeral will be held Monday, October 2, in the Notre Dame du Lac Chapel, 555 Plantation Street, Worcester, with a calling hour at 1 p.m. followed by sharing of memories at 2 p.m. and the Mass at 3 p.m. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Mary to Julie’s Family Learning Program, 133 Dorchester Street, Boston MA 02127, juliesfamily.org.
Julie’s Family Learning Program
133 Dorchester Street, Boston MA 02127