Nancy McAuley, RSCJ

Nancy McAuley, RSCJ, RIP

Birth: March 24, 1914
Profession: August 5, 1944
Death: March 5, 2012

Ethel Anna (Nancy) McAuley, RSCJ, died Monday, March 6, at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart’s elder care center in Atherton, California. Sister McAuley was a lover of research and learning, but even more, she loved people – especially young people. Her life will be celebrated in a Mass of Resurrection at 10:00 a.m. on March 24 at Oakwood, 140 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton, CA, 94027. Sister McAuley donated her body to Stanford Medical School.

Sister McAuley was born in St. Louis March 24, 1914 to Terence Francis McAuley and Ethel Redden McAuley Tighe, both deceased. She was also predeceased by her sister, Elinor McAuley MacCamy, brothers Terry and Raymond, her stepfather, Joseph A. Tighe, and half-brother, Joseph G. Tighe. She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1936, made her first vows in 1939, and professed her final vows at Kenwood Convent in Albany, New York in 1944. She is survived by nieces and nephews and her RSCJ community, who remember her with great fondness.

From 1939 to 1944, Sister McAuley served as school surveillante (supervisor) and teacher at City House and Villa Duchesne Academy in St. Louis; from 1945 to 1954, she was principal and mistress general at City House; and from 1963 to 1968, she served as principal and mistress general at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles. During these years, she also taught for brief periods at Sacred Heart schools in New Orleans, Cincinnati and Houston.

In 1960 she and two other Religious of the Sacred Heart began a foundation – a new religious community – in Houston. Ann Caire, RSCJ, described the preparations made for 55 girls who started classes, while the Religious were still working hard to raise money to pay for the land the school was on. Sister Caire remembered Sister McAuley as a great mentor with high standards, who loved the children, and they, in turn, loved her.  “She had a great sense of humor and, I think, suffered silently when things were not done perfectly,” Sister Caire recalled. “She was always kind and respectful of everyone.  At the end of May, 1961, she was given the title of Reverend Mother” (in recognition of her role as superior of the community).

From 1969 to 1971, Sister McAuley worked for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, under a grant from the city of St. Louis, developing and administering programs dealing with racial issues and social justice.

In 1974, upon completion of her doctorate in social sciences and communication, she became a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) in Washington, DC, conducting studies on the alienation of youth from the Church. Later, she continued her research at the Catholic University of America. In collaboration with Moira Mathieson, Sister McAuley wrote Faith Without Form: Beliefs of Catholic Youth, published in 1986. In 1997, she began teaching English as a Second Language in Bethesda.

Sister McAuley was a Sacred Heart student through and through. A graduate of the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Missouri, she earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the Society of the Sacred Heart’s Maryville College in St. Louis in 1935. Her master of arts in education was from St. Louis University in 1943. She later returned to school to earn another master of arts in interdisciplinary studies from Manhattanville College, and in 1974, a Ph.D. in social sciences and communication from the U.S. International University, Washington, DC.

She was executive director and a board member of the Thomas More Society of America, a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, a charter member of the Religious Communicators Exchange and a member of the Higher Education Association. Her love of learning and sharing of knowledge prompted her to attend frequent workshops on education and spirituality. She held life certifications in elementary and secondary teaching, administration and counseling.

Sister McAuley was described as joyful and enthusiastic, with a beautiful smile and loving presence. She loved to dance, and those she left behind are confident she is dancing now in Heaven.



Submitted by Ann Thirolf Spieth on

Mother Nancy McCauley was a gift to me in 1963, when I went to Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles to see if there was an available placement for me in sixth grade.  She was the most gracious and kind nun I had ever met!  Her gorgeous blue eyes and wide smile greeted me and made me feel immediately at home at St. Charles.  She even had her neices, Patsy and Nancy, bring one of their uniforms to me that afternoon, so I could begin school the next day and not feel awkward.  It was early October 1963 and I was very unhappy where I was going to grade school.  My sister and cousins all went to City House and Villa.  I believe I was meant to be at St. Charles, where St. Rose Philippine began her journey with Christ to begin education here in America.
I went to Oakwood to visit Mother Anna Mae Marheineke several years ago and saw Mother McCauley praying in the chapel and introduced myself to her and reminded her how special she was to me.  Her beautiful eyes teared up and mine, as well ... we just held hands and prayed together.  Thank you Mother McCauley for all you did for so many students, like myself, in helping us believe in ourselves and gaining knowledge while always growing closer to Christ, Mater, St. Rose Philippine and St. Sophie Barat.  May you dance and sing with all who love you in heaven, especailly, Our dear Father, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  

Submitted by Mary Jo (Messe)... on

Nancy was my cousin. She was in my life since 1964 when we met at Manhattanville college during a visit to the Worlds fair in NYC.  Over the years our family visited her in Washington DC and joined Nancy for various family reunions, the last one in St Louis during her 50th anniversity.  Sadly we lost touch. Youthful, energetic and always interested in our lives, Nancy is remembered fondly by the NY "McAuley" contingent.