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Mary Hardiman (formerly Sr Mary Mairead)

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 01/10/2013

Sr Mary Hardiman smsm
(Formerly: Sr Mary Mairead smsm)
November 19th, 1925 - October 1st 2013

Mary Teresa Hardiman was born in Ballybawn, Galway, Ireland, in 1925, one of seven children of Kathleen Barry and John Hardiman. She was not one to speak much about her earlier life, but we have learned that at the end of the Second World War she went to England to help people who had been devastated by the bombing.

Later she migrated to the United States, where on February 11th 1952, she entered the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary in Lowell, Massachusetts, and then made her novitiate in Bedford. She took the name Sr Mary Mairead, and made her first vows on August 15th 1954.

After profession, Mary was sent to help with the domestic work at the formation house of the Marist Fathers and Brothers in Staten Island, New York. She made her final vows in 1960, and in 1963 she was sent to cook at the SMSM Generalate, which was then in Castel Gondolfo, outside Rome. In October 1965 she returned to Bedford and gave community service, then made her “Second Novitiate” there the following year.

She finally received her “mission destination” and, on January 1st 1967, left for the islands of Tonga, where she was in charge of the kitchen in Ma’ufanga. One Sister who had recently arrived from New Zealand about that time wrote to say how much she appreciated what came out of that kitchen! Another, who was a girl at the boarding school, wrote of Sister’s kindness to the boarders in sharing food from the Sisters kitchen when the boarders’ parents were late in bringing them food on Sundays.

In 1971, Sr Mary joined the community at St Stephen’s Seminary in Hawaii and was again in charge of the kitchen. When she returned to Waltham in 1973, her “career path” also changed – from cooking to nursing. Over the next 17 years she served as a Nurse Aide at Maristhill Nursing Home, Santa Maria Hospital, Waltham Hospital, and again at Maristhill. When a Health Team was established at our “62 Newton St” community in the early 90’s, she was part of that. She also served at the Grey Nuns in Lexington and volunteered at a Soup Kitchen in Boston.

After a home visit to Ireland in 1993, Mary continued to do community service at “62”, helping part-time in the kitchen. Her health began to decline in the late 1990’s and she had her first bout with cancer. In 2001 she moved with other Sisters to St Mary’s apartments in Waltham, but would still come back to “62” to give community service. In 2005 she moved back to “62” and continued helping with driving, answering the phone and caring for Sisters who were ill.

In 2008 she moved to the Marillac Residence for about 6 months, but felt there was still more that she could do for the community at “62” and moved back there. She continued her life of humble and hidden service until her failing health led her back to Marillac in May of this year, and then to the Elizabeth Seton Residence where she died on the feast of St Therese, October 1st.

Mary is remembered by many as a quiet and loving presence in their lives. She had an Irish wit and a hearty laugh. She was so attentive to others. She knew the secret of “being the soul of the apostolic community while remaining in the background.” (Constitutions 53)

A message from the Sisters in Rome described her well
“Mary gave herself generously in quiet service in many different ways over the years. Mary was so Mary-like. She had a way of anticipating people’s needs, wanting people to feel at ease and at home and you knew you only had to ask her and she would be available. “

We will miss you, Mary, but we rejoice that you have been released from a long and painful illness and we look forward to the welcome you’ll provide one day for all the many people whose lives you’ve influenced over the years.

May you rest in the peace and joy of the Lord!

In Mary’s Name,

Sr Claire Rheaume smsm (Mission District Leader, North America) Sr Virginia Fornasa smsm (Secretary)