In Memoriam

Sister Ellen Murphy, OP


Sister Ellen Murphy, formerly known as Sister Marie Aquino Murphy, died on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan. She was 82 years of age and in the 64th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Ellen was born in Detroit to Joseph and Cecilia (Kenney) Murphy. She graduated from Dominican High School in Detroit and received a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian and a master’s degree in European history from De Paul University in Chicago. 

Sister spent 35½ years ministering in elementary education in Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Homewood, Elmhurst, Wilmette, and Oak Lawn, Illinois; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. This includes seven years as principal of Queen of Angels, Chicago; three years as principal of St. Joseph, Wilmette; and nine years as principal of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Oak Lawn, all in Illinois. She also spent five years as principal of St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Sister Ellen was the administrative assistant for a short time for the Dominican Midwest Chapter of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in Burbank; ministered in spiritual development for CenterPointe in South Holland for three years; was program coordinator for Women’s Center Project, Westchester for one year, all in Illinois. She was also regional coordinator for Catholic Association of Student Councils at Notre Dame, Indiana, for one year. 

Sister Ellen became a resident of the Dominican Life Center in Adrian in 2013. She was preceded in death by her parents and a first cousin, Sister Celine Therese McMahon, OP, also an Adrian Dominican Sister. She is survived by her Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Welcome of Sister Ellen will be on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Dominican Life Center lobby; the Wake will follow from 6:15 to 7:00 p.m. in the Rose Room. The Reception of the Body and Vigil Prayer will be at 7:00 p.m. in St. Catherine Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Catherine Chapel on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. Both the Vigil Prayer and the Funeral will be live streamed. The Rite of Committal will be in the Congregation cemetery. 

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian.



Vigil for Sister Ellen (Marie Aquino) Murphy:

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Funeral for Sister Ellen (Marie Aquino) Murphy:

Download video. Videos will be posted for 4-6 weeks, then removed.


Left: Sister Ellen Murphy with her parents

From left: Sisters Joyce Rybarczyk, left, and Ellen Murphy in Watervliet, Michigan, where Sister Joyce ministered on a reservation. Staff members of St. Catherine of Alexandria School and Parish, Oak  Lawn, Illinois are, from left, Sisters Helen Sorich and Ellen Murphy; Father Mark Walter; Father Joseph O’Brien, Pastor; Byrnie Smierciak, Director of Religious Education; and Sister Kathleen Harkins.

Sisters Patricia Walter (left) and Ellen Murphy stand in front of CenterPointe Women’s Center. Sisters Norlee McDonnell (left) and Ellen Murphy

From left: Members of the Sophia Mission Group celebrate Christmas, early 2000s. Shown are, standing, from left, Sisters Ellen Murphy, Peter Anthony Schulte, and Mary Alice Hoff and seated, from left, Sisters Jean Keeley, Sally Fergus, and Juliann Flynn. Standing in the Dominican Midwest Chapter Office are, from left, Sisters Louise Borgacz, Helen Therese Mayer, and Ellen Murphy.

Chatting in the Dominican Life Center lobby, from left, are: Sisters Mary Singer, Mary Ellen Youngblood, Theresa McCall, Joan Sustersic, Peter Anthony Schulte, and Ellen Murphy.

Members of the 2004 Golden Jubilee June Crowd are: back row, from left, Sisters Marianne O’Neill, Ellen Murphy, Marlene Ptaszynski, Marilyn Francoeur, Clarice Moyle, Esther Kennedy, Margaret Andrezik, Rose Ann Schlitt, Jeanne Marie Stickling, Gail Himrod, and Norlee McDonnell and front row, from left, Sisters Evelyn Piche, Teresita Ruiz, Mary Ann Letzgus, Ellen Schmitz, Therese Reynolds, Rose Irene Calvert, Joan Baustian, Kathleen Watt, Virginia Kleckner, and Janet Capone (Prioress).

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Avatar  CG 4 months agoReply

Sister Ellen was a wonderful person and principal at St.Catherine in Oak Lawn when I was in school there. She will be greatly missed!

Avatar  Kathi Thieme 5 months agoReply

Sri. Marie Aquino was also known as the penguin. She made such a difference in my life. There was a segment in our reading book about penguins . I wanted to read it so badly that I thought I would burst of she didn't call on me. But she did. It was just about then that I was out of school for over a year with tuberculosis. She was much loved.

Avatar  Sue Farrell 5 months agoReply

So sorry to hear of Sr Ellen’s passing. Lovely lady with a great sense of humor . I remember her describing 7 th graders as brain dead . Use that expression often! Sr. was principall of St Catherine’s while my 4 kids attended and tthey lioved CtF and respected her. Rest In Peace! You have run your race, Ellen!!

Cemetery of the Adrian Dominican Sisters

Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance. 

We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to Sister Barb Kelley (

We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.


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