Sister Mary Gallagher, co-founder of Mercy Ministries of the Lowcountry, dies at 81

HARDEEVILLE—Sister Mary Gallagher, a Sister of Mercy of the Americas, died July 14 at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga. She was 81.

The Rite of Committal will be at her community cemetery in Chicago.

Born in Chicago on June 23, 1931, she was the daughter of the late Thomas Joseph and Rosina Neeson Gallagher.

She lived in Bluffton for the past 14 years after moving from Aurora, Ill., to help serve the Spanish population.

Sister Mary professed her vows with the Sisters of Mercy in 1950. Over the years, she worked as a Spanish and art teacher, and served for eight years as the pastoral administrator of St. Anthony Church in Hardeeville.

In 1997, she founded Mercy Ministries of the Lowcountry — formerly known as the Hardeeville Thrift Store — with Sister Guadalupe Stump, RSM. The non-profit serves food to about 12,000 people a year and helps nearly as many with clothing, furniture and household goods.

Sister Mary also helped found Jasper County Neighbors United, which built 26 homes in Jasper County. Sister Mary was a member of St. Gregory the Great Church.

She is survived by Sister Lupe and other members of her congregation, and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brothers, Joseph, Patrick and Gerald Dunstan; and sisters, Elizabeth G. Durkin and Margaret G. Brown.

A wake service was held on July 23 at St. Anthony Church in Hardeeville, followed by a memorial Mass at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton.

Memorial donations may be made to Mercy Ministries of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 1957, Hardeeville, SC 29927, or Sisters of Mercy, 10024 S. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60655.