Sister Mary Carlotta, 97, mother provincial, hospital administrator

May 07, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Sister Mary Carlotta, former mother provincial of the Sisters of Mercy order, died of heart disease yesterday at Mercy Medical Center. She was 97 and lived at the Villa, the order's retirement home in Rodgers Forge.

She led a community of 400 women in Maryland and three southern states after serving as registrar of Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington. At 64, she became a Mercy Medical Center administrator and worked at the downtown hospital until she was 89.

Born and raised in Baltimore, near Greenmount Avenue and Preston Street, Catherine Ann Duffy attended St. John's Parochial School and was a 1922 graduate of Western High School. She earned a bachelor of arts from College Misericordia in Dallas, Pa.

She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1923 and taught at Shrine of the Sacred Heart School and Mount Washington Country School, both in Mount Washington, and at St. Peter School in Southwest Baltimore and St. Cecilia in Walbrook.

"She was an excellent organizer, a brilliant statistician, and she never asked someone to do something that she was not well qualified to do herself," said Sister Mary Anselm Noone, the order's former procuratrix, or business manager.

"She was a very hard worker and enjoyed all facets of life - she could run a good bingo party and was an excellent seamstress. And she was flexible - she had two careers - as a school administrator and later in health care. She was a remarkable person."

Sister Carlotta was assistant mistress of novices - she trained new members of her order - at Mount St. Agnes from 1936 to 1941, when she was named registrar of the college.

She was also elected superior of the sisters' motherhouse and later ran St. Vincent's Orphanage in Rodgers Forge. She became the order's mother provincial in 1960 and oversaw her order's work at schools and hospitals in Maryland as well as in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

She was administrator of Mercy Villa Convalescent Home on Bellona Avenue in Baltimore County for two years before joining the staff of the downtown hospital. She was manager of outpatient registration - and oversaw the computerization of records - until 1986, when she stepped down, but returned to the hospital several days a week as an admissions office volunteer until 1993.

"She was a formidable lady, but she always thought and did what was right," said the Rev. Michael J. Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. "In times that were getting difficult, she provided stellar leadership. She had a marvelous mind - she was like a walking personnel file."

"As sisters, we go where the need is," said Sister Patricia Smith, vice president of the order's Baltimore regional community. "After years of service at other places, she went to Mercy Medical Center downtown and inspired so many of their employees there. So many said how wonderful she was to work with."

During the last nine years of her life, Sister Carlotta made dozens of lap robes and other items at her order's retirement home. She also ran an annual raffle and each fall mailed hundreds of chances to her legion of friends to sell. She ran her last raffle in November 2000.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, York and Overbrook roads, Rodgers Forge.

She is survived by nephews and nieces.

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