Sister Teresa Feeley, 74

Missionary nurse

October 24, 2006|By Jacques Kelly

Sister Teresa Feeley, a Baltimore-born missionary nurse and hospital administrator who headed the Daughters of Charity in Bolivia, died of cancer yesterday at St. Agnes Hospital. She was 74.

Teresa Martin Feeley was raised on Guilford Avenue and she attended SS. Philip and James Parochial School and was a 1950 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School. She earned a degree from Mercy Hospital's School of Nursing. She later received a master's degree from Catholic University of America. She was one of three sisters who entered Roman Catholic religious orders.

She joined the Daughters of Charity in 1957, taking the name Lawrence Marie; she later resumed use of her baptismal name.

In 1967, Sister Teresa studied Spanish, which she learned to speak fluently, and began missionary nursing work in Bolivia. She worked at Seton Hospital and its school of nursing in Cochabamba and at the Dermatological Hospital in Santa Cruz.

During her many years in Bolivia, she taught nursing, and later directed the nursing program and became the hospitals' administrator. In 2002 she was named visitatrix, or superior, of her religious order's Province of Bolivia. While holding this position, she continued to teach nursing and remained as superior until her death. She taught until a month ago, when she returned to Baltimore to receive medical care.

"She was a remarkable woman in action, both as a hospital administrator and as the head of the Bolivian Province," said Sister Kathleen Feeley, the sibling who is a former president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. "Her love for the Bolivian people was evident in every act, every gesture. Her pride in the missionary works of her Daughters of Charity and her respect and love for each of her sisters was the hallmark of her unfinished term as superior of the Province of Bolivia."

Family members said Sister Teresa loved music. They said that because she had no piano in Bolivia, she learned guitar, and played for church services and for entertainment. She formed a choir of schoolchildren in Santa Cruz who sang for religious services.

Later, as visitatrix, she formed a choir of soldiers from a military base near her residence in Cochabamba.

"She played the piano by ear," her sister said. "A week before her death, she raised the spirits of the sick by playing the piano on the seventh floor of St. Agnes Hospital."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Villa Assumpta, 6401 N. Charles St.

In addition to her sister, survivors include two brothers, Jerome L. Feeley of Parkville and Paul J. Feeley of Lutherville; two other sisters, Bernadette F. Rouse of Timonium and Sister Therese Feeley, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and former faculty member of the Institute of Notre Dame; and many nieces and nephews.

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