A memorial Mass was to be celebrated for Sister Mary Ellen Neeves, OSU, on May 15 at the Ursuline Academy Chapel in St. Louis. Sister Mary Ellen died April 13 at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka at age 82. Also known as Sister Philip Marie, she served many years in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and most recently lived in Rock Hill.
Born Dec. 11, 1938, in Bloomington, Illinois, to William Vernon and Mildred Knecht Neeves, she entered the Ursuline community in 1956 and professed her vows in 1959. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle in New York and a master’s degree from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Sister Mary Ellen was a teacher, principal, spiritual director and Ursuline leader. She taught at St. Peter School in Kirkwood from 1962-65, was a teacher and assistant principal at St. Joseph School in Clayton from 1965-68, taught at St. Rose of Lima School in De Soto from 1975-76 and at St. Mary Magdalen School in St. Louis from 1990-92. She also ministered as a teacher, principal and spiritual director in Alton and Springfield, Illinois; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and New Orleans.
She was the provincial leader of the Ursulines’ Central Province from 1978-84 and a councilor on the leadership team from 1993-96 and 2002-08. She was the renewal director for the Ursulines of the Roman Union from 1996-2002, serving in Rome, Italy.
Through her varied ministries, Sister Mary Ellen always sought to be of service in the best way she could. She especially loved helping children with their reading skills. In later years, she enjoyed tutoring at an elementary school in Cape Girardeau and then at Most Holy Trinity School in St. Louis.
She volunteered many places, including most recently at TEAM (The Emergency Assistance Ministry), a food pantry in Florissant.
Sister Mary Ellen is survived by her sister, Shirley Warren; and brother Phil Neeves. Burial was to have been at St. Peter Cemetery.