Born of immigrant parents Margaret (O’Sullivan) and Edward Kelly, Irene Brigid, the middle child in a family of five children, had a strong Irish Catholic upbringing. Life revolved around church, work, school, relatives, and a social club her father set up to help widows and children of Irishmen who died young. She was of full-fledged Irish decent and how thrilled she was when in1996 she was able to visit her parents’ family in Wales and Ireland.
Irene entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1955 and received the name Sister Mary Brigid. She wanted to live life “to the utmost,” after seeing her father almost die in a hunting accident when she was in junior high. She wanted a life dedicated to God and a chance to do things that “made a difference” in people’s lives.
Sister Mary Brigid was instrumental in making a difference in numerous lives through teaching and pastoral care. After graduating from Notre Dame Academy she continued her education and became a teacher. Sister taught children in grades 5-8 for 21 years in Catholic schools in Ohio and Indiana.
Earning a Master’s degree in Religious Education opened up numerous opportunities in religious education and pastoral work, such as coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carmel, Indiana and director of religious education in Sandusky and Delphos and pastoral services in Cicero, OH and Indianapolis, IN. In 1998 she began chaplain ministry at hospitals in Tiffin and Toledo and facilitated mental health services. She also volunteered in prison ministry at the Toledo Correctional Facility.
Remembered as prayerful, selfless, kind, someone fun to be with, and someone genuinely good, she was gracious and generous with her time and talent. “I want always to be a woman who belongs to God. I am attracted to religious life as I understand it to be a life of selfless dedication to the needy and an adventure of loving and being loved by God.”
May Sister Mary Brigid be enfolded in God’s arms for all eternity and may she now experience “loving God and being loved by him” in a way never thought possible.