Sister Torpy served in Omaha

Sister of Mercy Mary Joel Torpy, a native of Iowa whose 68 years of service included a "porch ministry" in Omaha in the 1980s, died Sept. 23. She was 88.

Her funeral Mass was Sept. 30 at Mercy Villa, where she had been living in retirement, with inurnment Oct. 1 at Resurrection Cemetery, both in Omaha.

Born in Imogene, Iowa, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1948 and professed perpetual vows in 1954.

Sister Torpy cared for children at then-St. James Orphanage in Omaha from 1952 to 1963, when she moved to Sacramento, Calif., and worked 15 years at the St. Patrick Home for Children. She also was a part-time minister at Folsom Prison, a volunteer at a Dorothy Day House and pastoral care chaplain at a Sacramento hospital.

She returned to Omaha in 1981, serving as coordinator at Mercy Villa and in 1986 as night chaplain at then-Bergan Mercy Hospital.

She also began coordinating what became known as the "porch ministry" in which other sisters would leave paper products on their porches for Sister Torpy to pick up and deliver to area homeless shelters.

In 2003, Sister Torpy began volunteering at a retirement center in Omaha, and in 2014 retired to Mercy Villa.

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