Arrangements announced for Sr. Mary Kelly’s funeral

Mary Kelly R.S.M.
Mary Kelly R.S.M.

On Friday, the University community suffered the loss of one of its most recognizable and beloved members, recently retired Associate Professor of Health Services Administration Mary Kelly, R.S.M. ’68.

The arrangements for the funeral are as follows:

  • April 10: Welcome service: 3 p.m.; receiving of friends 3:30-5 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m.; vigil service 7 p.m. — McAuley Center, 28750 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, Mich.
  • April 11: Mass of Resurrection: 10:30 a.m., Mercy Center Chapel, 29000 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, Mich. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Mich., following the liturgy.

“She was a true example of humility when given a compliment, but her distinguished and successful graduates always praised her highly as a teacher and mentor,” said University President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D. “She leaves a shining legacy through the many health professions alumni she prepared for their leadership roles.”

For more than 20 years, Sr. Mary was a beloved part of Detroit Mercy and the College of Health Professions, where she began as an assistant professor in 1995. She specialized in health care delivery and policy issues, research methods for the health professions, overview of health care systems, health promotion, the Sisters of Mercy and women in health professions. She also worked with Trinity Health in health care governance and management for more than two decades.

Sr. Mary’s recent research into the contributions of women religious in the creation of the U.S. healthcare system was honored by the Catholic Press Association. She worked to have these contributions added to textbooks on the history of U.S. healthcare. You can watch a talk she gave on this fascinating research, undertaken with Professor of Nursing Maureen Anthony, here.

A Detroiter for most of her life, Sr. Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts from Mercy College of Detroit in 1968. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University in 1980 and a Doctor of Public Health from the University of Michigan in 2001.

“Sr. Mary Kelly led and taught by listening, by expecting risk-taking,” wrote Assistant to the President for Mission & Identity John Staudenmaier, S.J., in his A Work Day in Hard Times blog. “She noticed fellow members of the university and, in noticing, helped them to believe that they have a voice worth listening to. Just as she listened to other people’s voices, all over this university for years, so her voice was a source of grace all those years as well. We will miss her.”

Chair of Health Services Administration Renady Hightower said, “To students at Detroit Mercy, Sister Mary Kelly was knowledgeable and knew how to inspire students to learn by demanding their best effort; she will be missed.”

Please share your memories of Sr. Mary below.


  1. K. Aida Severini

    I will NEVER forget how she accepted me in the Master’s program and helped me through it. She had faith in me. She was ALWAYS available to all of us with an “open door policy”. She encouraged me to think for myself and to be brave. She also helped me, tremendously, when I had a personal issue (which had nothing to do with school) and explained to me what God wants from us and doesn’t want from us in this matter. To this day, I frequently repeat her profound wisdom to other people. She knew academia inside out and religion too! THANK YOU, Sister Mary Kelly, for making my life better and for teaching me life lessons.

  2. Ziggy Kozicki

    Sister Mary Kelly raised the consciousness of everyone she met. She related truth with a grasp on reality and social dignity. She was a person with exceptional ability to identify the path forward and always reasonable. Sister Mary Kelly was a model for us all. She had a commitment to lifting people above the human view of our time on earth. Serving others and serving a higher power was never in question with her. I think many people are better now having known her and being in her company. She is still with us in some special spiritual way. I consider myself fortunate to have known her.

  3. Yolanda Grandison

    She made a great effort to admitvme and guided me through. I really appreciated. She just wasnt my profesor in health services but s person who really cares. I had my last child going through school and retinal operation she guided me through. When I received this I was so distraught. I really loved her. She will be missed by me and others. She got her wings love you

  4. Valerie Smith

    Sister Mary Kelly was my counselor during my tenure as a student in the Health Services Administration program. I remember her graciously navigating me through my selection of classes; and I could not have made it without her coaching me patiently through my classes. I learned the communication process from Sister Kelly, and remember the skills of listening from her. May God bless His daughter for a job well done!

  5. Patsy Gordon

    Sis. Mary Kelly was responsible for my admission to the Health Services Administration Master’s program at U of D Mercy. I’m so grateful for her kindness yet firmness in what was required. Over the years, from time to time, I thought about her. I will forever be grateful for what she did for me and will remember her with great admiration, respect and fondness.

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