Historian, teacher, Sister Gillgannon served archdiocese
Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:41pm admin
Sister of Mercy Mary McAuley Gillgannon, whose 79 years of religious life included 47 years teaching in the archdiocese, died Dec. 18 in Omaha. She was 95.
A funeral Mass was held Dec. 22 at Mercy Villa, with interment at Resurrection Cemetery, both in Omaha.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Sister Gillgannon joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1937 at Mount Loreto in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
She began her teaching career in 1940, spending a year at then-St. John School, followed by two years at then-St. Peter School, both in Omaha. She also taught at schools in Colorado and Missouri before returning to Omaha to teach and serve as principal at then-St. Patrick School from 1949 to 1953.
Sister Gillgannon earned a master’s degree in history from Marquette University in 1958 and a doctorate in modern European history from the University of Notre Dame in 1961, which led to her interest in writing and giving presentations about the history of the Sisters of Mercy. In 1967 she also wrote and published a book about an Irish nationalist politician titled, “Charles Stewart Parnell: Political Paradox.”
She taught at College of Saint Mary in Omaha from 1961 to 1972 and served on the leadership team of her order’s Omaha community from 1973 to 1979.
After two years as academic dean at a Kentucky college, Sister Gillgannon came back to Omaha, teaching at both Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) from 1981 to 1983, Dana College in Blair from 1983 to 1984, and again at UNO from 1984 to 1996.
She closed her teaching career as a scholar in residence at College of Saint Mary, where she mentored beginning faculty and taught history until joining her order’s ministry of prayer in 2010.