Sister Teresa Gilligan, 78, parochial school educator

February 02, 2005

Sister Teresa Gilligan, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and a retired educator, died of kidney failure Jan. 26 at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She was 78.

Born Teresa Gilligan and raised in County Leitrim, Ireland, she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Mill Hill in England in 1943. She professed her vows in 1946 and took Mother Gerard as her religious name. She returned to her birth name in the 1970s.

After being sent to her order's motherhouse on Maryland Avenue in 1947, she began her college studies at the old Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington, where she earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1954. She earned a master's degree in library science in 1962 from Catholic University of America in Washington.

During the 1950s, she taught mathematics, science and religion at parochial schools in Norfolk, Va., and Pittsburgh.

In 1962, she returned to Baltimore and began teaching at Regina Coele High School at Clare Court Convent on the grounds of her order's Ellerslie Avenue motherhouse. After the school closed in 1965, she remained as superior at the motherhouse until 1971, when she returned to Norfolk, where she taught for 15 years.

In 1981, her order broke off from the Franciscan Sisters of Mill Hill and became the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore. In 2001, they merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee.

Sister Teresa taught disabled students at St. Elizabeth's School on Argonne Drive from 1990 until retiring in 1993. She remained at the Clare Court Convent where she was a bookkeeper and a congregational leader.

A funeral Mass was offered for Sister Teresa on Saturday.

Survivors include a brother, Joseph Gilligan of Ireland; two sisters, Sally Lloyd and Kathleen Keane, both of England; and many nieces and nephews.

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