Biographies

Sister M. Francis Davis, MM

Born: July 23, 1889
Entered: December 28, 1914
Died: October 12, 1966

While we were at dinner today, word came from Bethany that our dear Sister M. Francis had slipped quietly from our midst to join Maryknollers in Heaven, thus marking the gentle end of her earthly life in its 78th year, and the 46th year of her religious profession. Death had been imminent for days, and a profound weakening on October 4, seemed to herald the summons under the blessed patronage of St. Francis, but the Master had other plans which Sister awaited with infinite patience, until today.

The following lovely tribute was paid to Sister by one of her own group, and points up a path to holiness that even the just would tread with caution: “There was not the tiniest speck of meanness in her; she complained of nothing; and her heart gave no place to ill-feelings toward anyone. Her reliance on God was like the untroubled sleep of a child, smilingly content and secure in the love of its parents.”

Always grateful, Sister’s transforming smile was eloquent in its gratitude for any service given, any kindness shown, and to spend but a few minutes in her room was to come away at peace.

Sister Mary Francis (Elsie St. Clair Davis) was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 23, 1889. She entered Maryknoll on December 28, 1914 and she was professed with the first group on February 15, 1921. Sister leaves no living relatives.

Sister was one of the pioneers of the Community – number 14 in the Register. Like her companions of those early days, Sister gave generously and joyfully to the work of the Community, and watched it grow with an ever-deepening love in her heart, happily “claiming” Maryknoll as family, after the last of her own was taken from her.

From her entrance until 1922, when Sister’s first assignment took her to Yeungkong, China, she devoted herself faithfully to stenographic and other office work in both The Field Afar Building and the Convent.

Sister spent a total of twenty-two years in the Orient, mostly in China, but which included a period from 1927 to 1930 in Manila at old St. Paul’s Hospital. She was entirely committed to the children and to the old folks in her care – and each found in her a spirit kindred to their own. Sister came back to the States in 1944 due to Communist activity which made it impossible for her to return to her mission station then at Loting.

From 1944 to 1957 Sister filled-in at many jobs, as her health permitted, here at the Motherhouse, Crichton and at Bethany, where she assisted in the Stamp Department until a generalized weakness made exertion of any kind almost impossible, and Sister, herself, completely dependent upon nursing care, which she received with unfailing love and devotion to the moment of death.

Sister is being waked at Bethany and her funeral Mass will be from the Motherhouse at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.