NEW BRITAIN – Sister Mary Declan (Eileen Catherine) Foley, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, West Hartford, died on Oct. 8, 2014, at the Msgr. Bojnowski Manor. She was 99 years old and had been in religious life for 78 years.
She was born in Hartford on Jan. 29, 1915, a daughter of the late Patrick David Foley and Ellen Powers Foley. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 29, 1936, and professed her perpetual vows on Aug. 24, 1942. Sister Declan graduated from Diocesan Sisters College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history. She also received an Associate Business Degree from Amhurst College, a master’s degree in French from Assumption College and furthered her studies in French at the Institut Catholique in Paris and Université de Tours in France.
Sister Declan taught at several schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford and in the Diocese of Norwich. She taught in Ridge, Md., then taught French at Diocesan Sisters College. Sister Declan also taught French for nine years at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol.
She then became a missionary in Sweden, where she lived for 16 years. She learned Swedish and became a parish assistant and teacher at parishes in Gävle and Sundsvall, Sweden. She then co-founded St. Joseph’s Ecumenical Center in Vikings Hill, Sweden.
After returning to West Hartford, Sister Declan volunteered for the next six years at The Gathering Place in Hartford, where people met for lunch and prayer. On her retirement, a Sister Declan Intern Scholarship program was created to give gifts of $500 to a student intern who wished to attend college. In her retirement, Sister Declan helped in her community’s provincial office.
Sister Mary Declan was predeceased by her brothers John and Declan and her sister, Rita Carroll. She is survived by her religious community, including her goddaughter, Sister of St. Joseph Jeanne Hope; and nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Oct. 11 at the Convent of Mary Immaculate in West Hartford. Interment was in the Sisters of St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorial donations in her name may be sent to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 27 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.