In Memory

Sister Mary Ellen Downing, IHM

March 25, 1944 – August 2, 1995

Sister Mary Ellen Downing, IHM, (formerly known as Sister Patrick Mary) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Wednesday, August 2, 1995.

She was born on March 25, 1944 in Woodside, NY, and was the daughter of the late John and Helen Cullinane Downing. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1963, made temporary profession of her vows on June 26, 1966 and final profession of her vows on September 5, 1971.

Sister Mary Ellen served as a teacher at the following schools: St. Mary Elementary School in Goldsboro, NC; Our Lady of Grace Montessori School in Manhasset, NY; and St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Sister served as principal at the following schools: Holy Trinity Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY; Blessed Sacrament Elementary School in Staten Island, NY; and Our Lady of Grace School in Manhasset, NY.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education/English, and a Master of Science degree in early childhood education, both from Marywood College. She completed additional study at Pittsburgh University, Plattsburgh University Marymount College and the Midwest Montessori Training Center, Chicago. She had conducted numerous workshops throughout the country on implementing the Montessori Method into the elementary classroom.

Sister Mary Ellen was the recipient of the “Princi­pal of the Month” award given by Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine.

She is survived by a sister, Carol Ann Kaminsky of Woodside, NY, a brother, Eugene of Plantation, FL, a nephew, 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:

On August 2, 1995 the God of Life and Miracles called Sister Mary Ellen Downing to eternal life. Having battled illness with a belief in miracles, Sr. Mary Ellen touched many during her death, as she did during life, with her ability to turn every challenge into an opportunity. By her example, she taught all who crossed her path that no matter how big the challenge, we could do it. As a teacher, principal, mentor and guide, she empowered the lives of many students, co-workers, friends and congregation members.

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