In Memoriam

Sister Maureen Fay (Marie Timothy)


Literally and figuratively tall in stature and standing, Sister Maureen opened many doors and broke many glass ceilings in American Catholic higher education for women, religious and laypersons because of her contributions at St. Xavier University, Mercy College of Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy. Thirty-one years after the bold collaboration of her and Fr. Robert Mitchell, S.J. to make Mercy College of Detroit and University of Detroit a strong Catholic institution, she leaves a legacy that will benefit tens of thousands of future leaders in Michigan, the United States and the world for decades. — Dr. Antoine Garibaldi, President, University of Detroit Mercy

In his tribute to Sister Maureen Fay, one of his predecessors, after her passing, Dr. Garibaldi was honoring the Adrian Dominican Sister who had helped direct the consolidation of Mercy College and the University of Detroit and served for twenty-one years in the institutions’ presidency.

Sister Maureen was born May 18, 1934, in Chicago to Michael and Anne (Whalen) Fay. Michael was an Irish immigrant from County Roscommon who had come to America at the age of eighteen, while Anne was a Chicago native but was the daughter of an immigrant from Galway, Ireland. According to a biographical sketch of herself that Sister Maureen wrote for an Irish publication in Detroit, family lore had it that Michael had left Ireland one step ahead of the British, who were hunting him for his involvement with the Irish Republican Army. Sister Maureen said in her 2016 “A Sister’s Story” video that when her father got to Ellis Island, he wrote down his name in such shaky handwriting that the immigration official could not read it – and so the family name, Fahey, became Fay.

Read more about Sister Maureen (pdf)

make a memorial giftMemorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221. 



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Avatar  Theresa Mirasole Stephany 3 years agoReply

Sister Maureen taught my senior English class at Dominican High School in Detroit. One day, I was looking out the window instead of paying attention in class. "Miss Mirasole," she called, "are you aiming to become a lawn specialist, or what?" Like an arrogant teenager, I replied, "No, just bored." The class gasped in horror, but Sister immediately snapped back, "Well, if you're bored, it's because you're boring!" WOW, she was really something, wasn't she? :)

Special condolences to Sister Fran Nadolny.

Avatar  Shelly Maiorana Steimel 2 years agoReply

Hello Theresa! I was thinking of you because I know your birthday is right about now, then I saw this comment. Wanted to reach out and say hello after all these years. I too had Sister Timothy, as she was called then, at Dominican High. Once she warned that sports would have a negative effect on later the athletes would expect attention and praise, unrealistically. Well she was right. At 65, (5 years ago) I started tennis and expected (unconsciously) crowds of approval and respect, and none of that appeared! It was humble pie for me as I learned the ropes and stayed with tennis and the new people I was meeting. It was only in listening to some mindfulness meditation that I realized the underlying stress on the courts. Hope you are well!

Avatar  Denise Daniel 3 years agoReply

I remember how impressed I was, many years before the merger, at a meeting in Lansing dealing with financial aid, where Sr. Fay was in attendance. Everyone there had the greatest respect and highest regard for her and I think her presence, as a college president, was of great impact on the group of representatives and administrators in the state government. Her being there in person was a statement of how vital state support of financial aid programs was for our students. Years later, once our two institutions merged, I know she still was a leader in supporting student aid. I hope that the Lord provides her peace and rest from her worldly work, safe in the knowledge that she did her best for the students for whom she worked so long and hard. God bless you and keep you, Sr. Maureen.

Avatar  Edward Haggerty 3 years agoReply

Sr. Maureen was a blessing to all of Detroit in so many ways. In her the Order pf Preachers found new avenues to share the Good News through the ministry of education and of civic involvement. Particular condolences to Sr Fran Nadolny.

Avatar  Denis Theroux 3 years agoReply

Rest In Peace Maureen. I look forward to that day when we see one another again! To all of my Sisters in St. Dominic, may our Gracious and Loving God touch your hearts.

To Fran in a special way, know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you. I will remember Maureen when I approach the Table of the Lord, Praising, Preaching and in Thanksgiving for the Gift Maureen was to you and to so many!

Avatar  Barb Cherem 3 years agoReply

Once in a great while in one's life you have a true influencer whom you never forget, such was the case at Grosse Pointe St. Paul's when Sr. Timothy taught us in high school English, and I believe Religion classes. She opened up a wider world, and though only 12 years older than we were, and still in her 20s, she had wisdom wider than our own by far. She inspired to many at a critical moment in our emerging adult selves, and was not forgotten these many years. Such fun hearing all the testimonies, and being reminded of her humor, that unique laugh, and her ability to open minds while being so fun-loving. Remembrance of a "giant" of a woman, educator and warm human being. Grateful for having had her as a teacher, most esp. at a time in our lives when we certainly could use her great wisdom. In appreciation for a life well-lived. Applause dear sister; you were a "oner", that is, one of a kind, not easily forgotten. Peace.

Avatar  Matt Mio 3 years agoReply

Rest in peace, Sr. Maureen. Above all else, I will miss your laugh.

Avatar  Gary Maveal 3 years agoReply

Rest In Peace, Sister Fay. You gave so much to our University during your many years of service. I was impressed by your generous spirit and wise leadership. You are loved and missed.

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