Sister Mary Lou Herlihy


Current Ministry Location: Hendersonville, NC

Sister Mary Lou was born in Rochester, NY November 11th, 1941 to Clara Bott Herlihy and Thomas R. Herlihy; she one brother. She graduated from Our Lady of Mercy High School in 1959 and studied at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY from 1960-1961.

Sister Mary Lou entered the Congregation on September 2nd, 1961 at their Novitiate in Topsfield, MA.  She pronounced First Vows June 24th, 1964 in Topsfield and Final Vows May 16th, 1970 in Korea. From Topsfield, Sister Mary Lou moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Center,Maryknoll, NY in 1964. In 1969, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Community Service from Rogers College at the Sisters Center.

Sister Mary Lou was assigned to Korea in 1969, after language study, she worked with Young Christian Worker groups. She then received an Urban Development Certificate from Yonsei University in Seoul in 1972 and became involved in the labor apostolate, visiting homes and teaching English to labor union officers, as well as offering courses to women who wished to devote their lives to Christ in the labor apostolate. Her interest in helping physically challenged children grew as she taught them in a rehabilitation hospital.

Returning from Korea to work in the U S in 1983, she lives in Hendersonville, NC with two other Maryknoll Sisters She has responded to various needs through the years with her Masters in Social Work, which she earned from the State University of NY, Buffalo, NY in 1990.

She has been a case worker for an apartment complex for low-income seniors and physically challenged people. Presently, she serves as a tutor with kindergarteners and first-graders through the Senior Corps Foster Grandparents Program.

Sister Mary Lou brings a wealth of experience to her ministries, having lived for more than ten years in Rochester, NY where she was on the staff of a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, women’s shelter, women’s drop-in center and food and clothing cupboard. As a day care worker, she participated in a community called HIS (Integrating the Handicapped into Society), founded by a Jesuit priest. With the help of volunteers they hosted meals and a time of fellowship to welcome the blind, lame, those with marketable skills and those on disability or unemployment insurance. She was school social worker for Hope Hall, an alternative school for children who have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom.