A funeral for Sister Marian (formerly Sister Marian Joseph) McAvoy, SL, was celebrated July 7 in the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky. Sister Marian, who served eight years as Loretto’s president, died June 30 at Loretto Motherhouse. She was 94 and in the 71st year of her Loretto commitment.
Lucille Marie McAvoy was born July 15, 1927, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Edith K. (Nilges) and Bernard F. McAvoy. She was received into the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross on Dec. 8, 1951. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in history and philosophy, in 1949 from Webster College (now University) in St. Louis, a master’s in English in 1963 from Saint Louis University and a master’s in pastoral theology in 1969 from Loyola University in Chicago. Sister Marian lived much of her life in the service of the Loretto community, including as Loretto’s president, serving for two terms from 1978-86 at the Denver Loretto Center. In 1970, she was asked to serve on the first staff for the newly reorganized government of Loretto as director of work development, remaining in that position until she was elected Loretto’s second president.
Sister Marian was interested in international matters and promoted learning in this area throughout her life, encouraging a movement from national independence to global interdependence. As Loretto’s president, she designed a project in which a number of Sisters of Loretto had the opportunity to live and work in underdeveloped countries. Her emphasis in broadening Loretto’s vision continued through her retirement years at Loretto Motherhouse. From 1994-97, Sister Marian served as adjunct faculty at Webster University, where she particularly enjoyed teaching a seminar on women with a global focus. She was both a member of the national board and executive committee of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
With Barron Hilton, Sister Marian initiated the Hilton Fund for Sisters and served as charter member and vice chair of its board of directors. For 10 years, she directed the Loretto Leadership Workshop, an annual weeklong event for elected and appointed leaders from Loretto high schools. Among her earlier ministries, Sister Marian taught in elementary and secondary schools in St. Louis, Illinois and Kentucky, served in pastoral ministry in Iowa, and was Loretto’s Community Group Coordinator from 1997-2001.
Sister Marian is survived by her brother Louis (Lou) McAvoy of Kansas City, Missouri, and several nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her parents and five siblings. Burial was in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery on the Loretto Motherhouse grounds.