Born to Life
December 2, 1928
New Orleans, Louisiana
June 13, 1955
Born to Eternal Life
March 29, 2021
Our Lady of the Angels
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Lillian Muse/Musé was born on December 2, 1928 to Anniemae Kaywood and Willie Muse in New Orleans, Louisiana. (In the last few years S. Michael Mary chose to use the French pronunciation of her last name, Musé. She was very proud of her culture and heritage.) Lillian was one of five children; her sisters, Harriet and Mildred, preceded her. Brothers, William Jr. and Thomas, were born later.
Lillian liked going to school and was always very active. Growing up she enjoyed roller skating, tap dancing, storytelling and dramatizing stories for the neighborhood children. Even as a child she displayed her fondness for music using kitchen pots and pans to beat out rhythms. At about 13 years old she organized some of her friends in a tin-can band to entertain in the French Quarter. At the end of the day they feasted on some of that special food using the money collected from their entertainment. As an adult she took drumming lessons and even acquired an African drum. Of course, before she had the drum, that didn’t stop her from “drumming!” The nearby table, the arm of the chair or just her lap served almost as well! In high school Lillian used her talents in drama, as a cheerleader and as a Majorette in the band. She also found time to work as a bus-girl in one of the major hotels and as a Candy Striper in the hospital.
After graduation Lillian moved to Chicago with her sister, Harriet, and began working at Mercy Hospital. It was there that she became friends with Sister Mary Michael and became interested in religious life. She confided her desire to Fr. Farrell of Holy Angels Parish, a patient in the hospital at the time. He, in turn, referred her to Sister Hortensia, and so…in 1955 Lillian became Sister Michael Mary. Actually she claimed membership in two reception classes. She completed her year as a postulant in 1954; however since she had only recently been baptized as a Catholic she was asked to wait another year.
Sister Michael served in many ways – as a Certified Food Manager, Certified Nursing Assistant and Licensed Practical Nurse, but also in many, many other ways: from doing podiatry to being a companion with sisters on their final journeys to eternity. For 14 summers she worked as a volunteer in the Summer Program for Underprivileged Children at Sacred Heart School in Walls, Mississippi.
Her first assignment after Profession in 1957 was to Alvernia High School in Chicago where she helped in the food service for the approximately 1300 students as well as the resident sisters. In the next 50 years she used her education and training in food service and health care in various places in Illinois and Wisconsin.
S. Michael Mary did return to her first mission, Alvernia, three more times totaling 25 years of service there. Something that she deeply cherished was her long-term loving and caring relationship with the Alvernia Board and membership of the Alvernia Alumnae Association. Until two years ago she always looked forward to being the “greeter” at the Annual luncheon; she extended hospitality in many ways.
We will all remember Sister Michael Mary for her joy and her loving and caring service to all. One of my fondest memories was her suggestion as I was leaving…”You just skip along now, girl!” Now, you’ve skipped along right into God’s place for you in eternity. Alleluia!
Let us listen now for a few minutes to the sounds of African Drumming in memory of Sister Michael Mary.
Join Us in Remembering
Sister Michael Mary
We encourage you to share your loving memories of Sister’s life and ministry using the online form on this page. Your submission will be reviewed by the community and posted to this page promptly.
Memories from Loved Ones, Friends & Colleagues
On behalf of all Alvernia High School alums, I want to note the loss of Sister Michael Mary on March 29. She was a smiling face and warm heart during our high school years, and a welcome guest at our annual reunions. May she rest in the peace that is God's grace to those who have witnessed the gospel with every breath. Amen.
~Maureen Hellwig, Associate
Rest in Christ’s peace, Sr. Michael Mary. Bonus to return Home during Holy Week.
~Patty Deane Petruzzelli
If I ever believed there was an angel living among us, I can truly say you were that angel, my angel. You were the kindest human being I've ever met! Thank you Sister Michael Mary for your love, your unwavering service to others, and mostly for your words of wisdom, especially during difficult times. You will forever live in my heart. I will remember your last words to me...You are somebody!!! Yes Sister Michael, I will always remember those words and carry your love and memory with me the rest of my days.
You have been an inspiration to so many of us, dear Michael Mary!
A dear soul and special friend. I'll never forget the time she sang, "Oh Freedom." The sister had asked her to sing this at her funeral. It was very moving.
Thanks for being you and Sister Hortensia for inviting you to join SSSF. We love you.
~Sister Patricia McCarthy
Another angel in heaven.
Our dear Sister Michael Mary was a regular part of our summer program in Walls. The children all nick-named her “Sister Catholic!” Why? We were never sure, but the name stuck through her many summers here with us. She danced and sang and made her classes very happy. We all loved having her as part of our summer family even though we had to meet those trains in the wee hours of the morning OR the late hours of the night when she was coming back from New Orleans, And Sister Virginia always had a case of the hottest hot sauce we could find waiting for her when she got here.. One time when she changed assignments she told those in charge that she would do it with the understanding that she would be in Walls for those 6 weeks of the summer program. Oh we had fun with her and waited each summer for her return!
~Sister Margaret Sue Broker
Before 1990, the Fall Festival was a huge event lasting three days. Baking teams worked in shifts round the clock also for three days, in the huge bakery in the power plant building (gone now) where they produced over 3,000 items of bakery - white, whole wheat, rye and raisin breads, plus coffee cakes.
I took this photo in the mid-1980s, I think, and it shows Sister Michael Mary as part of the “coffee cake shift” which worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. She was cheerful and full of energy. I enjoyed working with her and so did the rest of the crew. We were a happy bunch, perhaps a bit tired by the end of our shift, but loving our work, knowing our tasty baked goods would bring joy to all who took them home.
May she rejoice now, in God's loving hands.
~Jim Meyer, Associate