Biographies

Sister M. Liguori Quinlan, MM

Born: May 19, 1897
Entered: February 1, 1922
Died: January 1, 1971

Sister Mary Liguori (Florence Mercedes Quinlan) died at Bethany on January 1, at 10:30 a.m. She had been steadily failing for several months and during the last few days of the year we realized that the joy of heaven was not far off for her.

Sister Mary Liguori was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 19, 1897. She attended St. Anthony’s Grammar School and St. James High School. Before entering Maryknoll on February 1, 1922, she had studied at the Pratt Institute and was an accomplished dress designer. On April 19, 1924, she made her First Vows and by September of that year she was on her way to Kowloon, China, where she generously contributed her lovely talents and shared the richness of her warm personality for eighteen years. She returned to the United States on the repatriation voyage of the M.S. Gripsholm on August 25, 1942. Previous to repatriation she was interned with our Sisters at the Stanley Internment Camp from February 8 until June 29, 1942.

Upon her return to the Motherhouse she served as Second Assistant to the Motherhouse Superior. In 1945 she worked in the Chi Rho Arts Department, and from 1946 to 1956 she was Assistant to the Novice Mistress. Subsequently, she spent a year at Topsfield, returning to the Motherhouse to work in the Novitiate Sewing Room until 1965 when she went to Monrovia, California. Since July 1967 Sister Mary Liguori has resided at Bethany where progressive ill health was her last offering to God.

Many of us who knew her recall her gracious human qualities of integrity, understanding, compassion and her obviously authentic response to the faith call she had received from Christ. Only a few knew that her entire life as a Maryknoller had been permeated by an intense desire for an austere contemplative witness. On her way to China in 1924 she first experienced this profound desire to enter the Cistercian order. It appears that this strong and unrelenting desire did not leave her and, although she made every effort to follow what seemed to her to be a call from God, circumstances pointed out that this would not be a reality for her. Perhaps her life symbolizes for us this inner tension which all true Christians experience: the reconciliation of the incarnational with the eschatological – the building of the Kingdom on earth with the longing, deep in the heart of man, for transcendent consummation in Christ.

Sister Mary Liguori will be buried tomorrow at Maryknoll after the Mass offered for her at 11:00 a.m. Let all of us rejoice in her new life and remember her in our prayers.