HOLYOKE – Sister of Providence Ellen Leddy, 102, formerly known as Sister Marie de Lourdes, died on July 8. She was in the 84th year of her religious life.
Born in Beverly, Mass., in 1911, she was the daughter of the late Edmund and Margaret (Golden) Leddy. She graduated from Mt. St. Joseph Academy in Brighton, Mass., and attended the Fitchburg Normal School before entering the Sisters of Providence in 1929.
Her first field of ministry was as a medical technologist in the laboratory at Providence Hospital in Holyoke, Mercy Hospital (now Mercy Medical Center) in Springfield and the former St. Luke's Hospital in Pittsfield. She then was the local superior for the Sisters of Providence studying at Boston College, while she herself was a student, earning both a bachelor's and master's degree in education.
She next was appointed mistress of postulants and in this capacity trained nine classes of candidates for membership in the Sisters of Providence while she earned a second master's degree, this one in religious studies from Providence College.
In 1969, she began a new ministry in social service work and pastoral counseling, first at the Municipal Home and Holyoke Day Nursery and then at Mount St. Vincent Nursing Home, all in Holyoke. She next was appointed assistant coordinator and then coordinator of the Providence Mother House.
Following her formal retirement in 1982, she served as community historian and librarian of the Catherine Horan Library at the Providence Mother House and also assisted in the archives. She researched the history of the Sisters of Providence from Montreal to Kingston, Canada, and then to the establishment of the Sisters of Providence in Holyoke and beyond.
She was engaged actively in community affairs until a recent illness. In 2010, she celebrated her 100th birthday with sisters in community, family, friends and local dignitaries in attendance. April 11, 2010 was declared Sister Ellen Leddy Day in the city of Holyoke. Writer Tom Shea in 2012 interviewed Sister Leddy and included her in the book, 140 Years of Providential Caring: The Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, MA.
Sister Leddy was a member of the Catholic Theology Society, the Society of Catholic College Teachers of Sacred Doctrine, the Social Workers of Nursing Home and Hospital Organization in Massachusetts and the Community Workers Association of Holyoke.
She is survived by her sisters in community and numerous cousins, both here and in Ireland.
The wake will be held this evening, Tuesday, July 9, from 3-7:30 p.m. at Providence Place, 5 Gamelin Street, Holyoke. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 10 at 10 a.m. in the Providence Place Chapel.
Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Providence, 5 Gamelin St., Holyoke, MA 01040.