Mary Ellen (John Elizabeth) Keyes, IHM

KEYES-MARY ELLENSister Mary Ellen Keyes, IHM, 91, died unexpectedly following a brief illness on Monday, July 9, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, Pontiac.

She was born May 27, 1927, in Detroit to Leo and Kathleen (Flanagan) Keyes, one of four children. After attending elementary and high school at St. Mary of Redford, Detroit, she entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation on July 2, 1945, receiving the religious name John Elizabeth.

Sister Mary Ellen earned a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, followed by a master’s degree from University of Detroit, a doctorate from Wayne State University and Master of Divinity degree from Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake. She later studied in Rome.

She ministered in Michigan as an elementary and high school teacher at St. Mary, Mt. Morris; Holy Redeemer, Gesu, St. John Vianney and Marygrove College, Detroit; Bishop Gallagher High School, Harper Woods; and St. Mary Academy, Monroe. At Visitation House of Prayer, Monroe and in the IHM provinces, she participated in contemplative prayer, ongoing formation for spiritual and retreat direction.

In 1975, she was missioned to St. Hugo of the Hills Parish and School in Bloomfield Hills. She spent the next 38 years in active ministry, living there until her recent illness. Her ministries at St. Hugo included, teaching, assistant principal, retreat director, spiritual director, consulting, pastoral work, formation and prayer.

Sister Mary Ellen is survived by nieces, nephews and her sisters in community, particularly Sister Margaret VanVelzen, IHM, with whom she worked and lived. Her brothers John and Joseph and her sister Elizabeth preceded her in death.

Read her Remembering.