In Memory

Sister M. St. Mary Orr, IHM

October 4, 1899 – March 5, 1996

Sister M. St. Mary Orr, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, March 5, 1996 at the Marian Convent in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born on October 4, 1899, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and given the name Mary. She was the daughter of the late Bernard and Brigid A. Graney Orr. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1918, made temporary profession of her vows on August 2, 1921, and final profession of her vows on December 8,1930.

Sister St. Mary served as a teacher at the following schools located in Scranton, PA: St. Paul High School, St. Patrick High School, Marywood Seminary, St. Paul Elementary School and St. Clare Elementary School.

Sister St. Mary served as president of Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1961 to 1970, and has also served as dean of students, psychology professor and director and co-founder of the Psychoeducational Clinic for the college.

She also served the IHM Congregation as assistant to the Superior General, a leadership team member, director of the Spiritual Renewal Program, a counselor for the Marian Convent, and a core member of the IHM Spiritual Renewal Center in Verona, NJ.

From 1990 until the time of her death, Sister St. Mary served as a prayer minister at the Marian Convent.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin and English from Marywood College, a Master of Arts degree in psychology from the Catholic University, and a doctorate in psychology from Fordham University.

In 1967, Catholic University honored her with its Alumane Achievement Award; while Marywood College honored her with its Presidential Medal in 1975.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Jule Orr Corcoran.

She is survived by a sister, Sister Maria Angela, IHM, of Scranton, PA, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Interment is at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, Pennsylvania.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Archival Remembrance:

A remarkable woman of keen intellect, understanding, wit and wisdom, Sister St. Mary Orr left behind a rich legacy for Marywood College and the IHM Congregation.

As a president of Marywood College and a member of the IHM Congregation Council, she spearheaded visionary and courageous undertakings that have had lasting impacts.

The rich diversity of her ministry president of the College from 1961 to 1970. During her presidency, Marywood became the largest Catholic women’s college in the country, received a universal charter, started a faculty exchange program, opened the Graduate School of Social Work and joined the Lehigh Regional Consortium for Graduate Teacher Education.

Her leadership brought the College important citations for program excellence and accreditation from several groups, including the National Council of Accreditation for Teachers of Education, the National Association of Schools of Music and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Under her administration, Marywood built its Learning Resource Center, the Nazareth Student Center, Madonna Hall, Emmanuel Hall and the campus expanded to 140 acres.

Besides serving as president, Sister St. Mary was at different times a dean of students, a psychology professor and director and co-founder of the Psychoeducational Clinic.

She was a fellow of the American Psychological Association, a diplomat of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology, a charter member of the American Catholic Psychological Association, a member of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities and the National Catholic Education Association. She was a registered clinical psychologist.

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