Nun never quit working or caring for kids
Sister Mary Jerome Mulligan / 1914-2007
Sister Mary Jerome Mulligan, 93, did not believe in retirement.
After 25 years of managing the finances at St. Theresa School in Liliha, she began to train a successor earlier this year. She had worked as a teacher, counselor and school administrator for more than 70 years, the last 39 in Hawaii.
She died Saturday at St. Theresa Convent. She had been a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 76 years.
"She loved children, and that's why she wanted to be here," said Sister John Joseph Gilligan, principal of the school. "The children gave her energy, even when she was sick."
"Sister Jerome" had been the school financial administrator since 1983, responsible for paying bills, preparing budgets and keeping track of investments. "She was very knowledgeable," said Gilligan.
Until two years ago, she also ran the program for instructing adult candidates for baptism in the Catholic Church. "The number of people she brought into the church was enormous," Gilligan said.
Mulligan first came to Hawaii in 1940 after teaching at an Indian mission school in Wisconsin. She taught for 11 years at Holy Rosary School in Paia, Maui. During World War II the parish served as an informal USO for the 4th Division Marines in training on Maui. Mulligan and other nuns sewed vestments for priests from the silk from old parachutes. From discharged shells and silk, she created a lightweight portable tabernacle, a vessel for priests to carry consecrated communion hosts to servicemen in the field.
She was born in Chicago. She was a teacher and principal in Missouri and Alabama. She was assigned to Kyoto, Japan, from 1959 to 1962, where she started a novitiate and was superior of the Carondelet House of Studies. She taught English to Kyoto University students and professors. After returning to Hawaii in 1968, she worked at St. Anthony School in Kailua and St. Joseph School in Waipahu.
She is survived by nephew Stephen Mulligan, niece Alice Mulligan, grandnephew Steve Mulligan and grandnieces Amy Eichhorn-Mulligan and Jill Mulligan.
A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. May 26 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 N. School St. Friends may call after 8 a.m. There will be a sharing of memories from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be served after Mass. Burial will be at 2:15 p.m. in Diamond Head Memorial Park.