Sr. Mary Teresa Reilly was born in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in July 1937. Her early education was in local schools and she was trained as a secretary and book-keeper. For three years she worked as a clerk in a Galway firm before joining MMM in 1958.
Even during her initial religious formation, Sr. Mary Teresa’s administrative abilities were noted. Immediately after First Profession of Vows she was sent to the International Missionary Training Hospital (IMTH) and worked there for several years in clerical positions before finally being appointed as Hospital Administrator. During this period (1960-1974) Sr. Mary Teresa was constantly upgrading her professional Diplomas, achieving a Higher Diploma in Hospital and Health Services Administration.
In 1974, Sr. Mary Teresa went to Rome for a well-deserved break from administration and to pursue religious studies. Unfortunately, ill health made her return to Ireland and she was “grounded” for three years, helping out in the Archives Department. In 1977, she went to USA for three years as bursar and secretary. This was followed by a long stretch working at Congregational level, first as part of the Leadership Team (1979-1985) and then as Congregational Secretary (1985-1992).
In 1993 Sr. Mary Teresa went to Uganda. This was her first overseas missionary experience and she loved it all. She worked as Financial Controller and Complex Director at Kitovu Hospital for almost ten years.
On her return to Ireland, she was called upon again for her administrative abilities. This was a return to working at Congregational level as Congregational Secretary once more for ten years. In 2013, Sr. Mary Teresa finally retired to Drogheda. She was very involved in the setting up of the Mother Mary and Mission Rooms in Drogheda and had a great knowledge of and love for Mother Mary and MMM history.
Sr. Mary Teresa was meticulous in all her activities. A gentle, unassuming woman, she gave her All to whatever assignment she was given. She was a perfectionist, both in her professional and personal life which, among other things, included great attention to the celebration of the Liturgy. She was greatly drawn to Canon Law and attended several Summer Schools over the years. In her lighter moments, she enjoyed Bird Watching and playing the Mandolin.
She retired to the Motherhouse in 2013 and belonged to St. Patrick’s Community. She became Sacristan, busily preparing for the celebration of daily Mass and other Liturgical celebrations. She also continued her involvement in the Mother Mary Mission Room, showing visitors around and generally looking after the room. Over the years her health began to deteriorate and she became less active. Finally, she transferred to Áras Mhuire in May, 2021. Over the following months her health continued to disimprove and she died peacefully on January 30th, 2022, in the presence of Sr. Rita Higgins MMM and members of Staff. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.