EAST ORLAND, Maine – Sister of Mercy Marie Therese (Mary William) Ahern, of East Orland, died on Jan. 25, 2013, following surgery at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.
She was born in South Boston, a daughter of the late William and Elizabeth (McCarthy) Ahern. She grew up in Unionville, graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy and attended St. Joseph College, both in West Hartford. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Diocesan Teachers College in Madison and a Master of Arts degree in history from St. Joseph College (now the University of St. Joseph).
She entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1956, and made her perpetual vows on June 28, 1962. She taught at St. Margaret School in Waterbury, St. Patrick School in Thompsonville, Holy Trinity School in Wallingford, St. Mary School in New Britain, as well as at South Catholic High School in Hartford in 1964 and again from 1969-73.
She then worked on environmental issues and went into parish ministry in Provincetown, Mass., until 1976, when she resumed teaching at Mount St. Joseph.
She was involved for the next 35 years with H.O.M.E. (Homeworkers Organized for More Employment) in Maine, a nonprofit that provides direct charity and aims to develop people’s skills, build community and change oppressive systems. Sister Marie directed H.O.M.E.’s Learning Center, coordinated the construction of numerous homes for the poor through the Covenant Community Land Trust and recently oversaw five shelters.
She is survived by her sister Elizabeth Olivieri of Old Saybrook, her brother William Ahern of Farmington, nieces and nephews and her religious community. She was predeceased by her brother Timothy Ahern and a nephew.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 31, 2013, at Connor Chapel at the University of St. Joseph.
A memorial service was held Feb. 3 at Orland Methodist Church near H.O.M.E. Burial was in Maine.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 55 E. Cedar St., Newington, CT 06111-1103 or to H.O.M.E. Inc., PO Box 10, Orland, ME 04472.