WEST HARTFORD – Sister Mary Lee D’Arche, of the Sisters of Mercy, died on July 1, 2013, at St. Mary Home.
She was born in Hartford on Oct. 13, 1929, a daughter of the late Wilburt and Rosa Lee (Moss) D’Arche. She graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy and entered the Sisters of Mercy at age 17. She taught in the primary grades in schools throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a Master of Arts degree in religious studies from St. Joseph College.
After 21 years of teaching, Sister Mary Lee went into other ministries, including as religious education coordinator for the Archdiocese of Hartford; a team member at Mercy Center in Madison; parish ministry at St. John the Evangelist in New Haven; retreat work in Pinehurst, N.C.; and missionary work in Guatemala.
Sister Mary Lee studied Spanish and earned a nursing degree. After working at St. Mary Home and St. Elizabeth Health Center in East Hartford, she went to Belize, where she was instrumental in setting up and directing Mercy Clinic in Belize City. She also administered HelpAge Belize and later returned to Mercy Clinic, where she developed an outreach/visiting nurse program. She was devoted to ministering to the dying.
In 2005 Sister Mary Lee was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the Belize City Council. She returned to Connecticut in 2008.
Sister Mary Lee is survived by a sister, Suzanne Beers of California; brothers Gayle D’Arche of Arizona and Jerome D’Arche of Minnesota; many nieces and nephews; and her Mercy community.
A funeral Mass was celebrated on July 8 in the chapel at St. Mary Home. Burial was on July 9 in St. Mary Cemetery.