“We cannot see the future or what it has in store for us, but we are open to what God has planned for us … a continuation of the mystery of life. Truly, life is a mystery to be lived!” Under the banner of these words, our Sister Mary Ann Creely endeavored throughout her life to help the People of God whom she served as a teacher, principal, counselor, pastoral minister, friend and sister, to remain confident in the providence of God and to find meaning in the challenges that life put before them. Though these words from 1997 may not have been intended originally as a parting gift to those she whom she would leave behind as she made her way home to God at the break of dawn on the Feast of St. Patrick in 2010, they take on new meaning in the light of her unexpected death and the legacy of her life.
Born on the northwest side of Chicago on January 6, 1933, the Feast of the Epiphany, Mary Ann Creely was the fifth of eight daughters born to Thomas and Rose (Franc) Creely. Baptized at St. Pascal Church, she attended the parish school where she came under the influence and inspiration of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. At the age of thirteen, Mary Ann became an aspirant with the Joliet Franciscans and studied at St. Francis Academy. On September 6, 1948, she entered the postulancy and on August 12, 1949, she became a novice, receiving the name Sister Mary Ronald. She made her First Profession on August 12, 1951, and three years later, on August 13, 1954, she made her Perpetual Profession. Cultivating long and lasting friendships among her Joliet Franciscan sisters as well as the Rochester Franciscan sisters and the Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity (Stella Niagra) with whom she also lived, Sister Mary Ann invested herself in creating the conditions for living the evangelical life in the context of life‐giving communities of faith, hope and love.