Sr. Marguerite Kelly, MFIC

“And that’s an important piece to instill, the religious values – the love of God, love of ones neighbor, and respect for one another.”


Interviewee: Sr. Marguerite Kelly, MFIC

Interviewer: Jenny P., Grade 12

Interview Date: October 17, 2014

Interview Location: Mount Alvernia, Newton, MA


Sister Kelly was born January 15, 1938 in Galway, Ireland. She spent 10 years in Bolivia teaching the women how to knit to better provide for their families. They had to set up the class when the harvest was over so that they could have more time to sow, and the men also took part in this learning experience.The situation for women there was very hard because they were expected to do all the work, so it was good for them to get out of the house. They got to have 72 sowing machines to teach with, 1 for each town.

Then her work transitioned to Peru, where she stayed for 5 years. It was like a desert there and when it first rained after 2 years there was a monsoon, so a lot of the houses were destroyed and they helped build them back up. It was hard to find drinking water so they taught them how to boil the water before drinking it. Kelly was guided by the spirit of St. Francis.

The most interesting people she has helped are the Irish immigrants at the Irish Pastoral Center in Dorchester. She would help the Irish immigrants find jobs and would talk with them in her own native language. They both converse about Ireland and Sister Kelly finds comfort in this because she grew up there.

The people that have helped her along the way were the sisters and not just the Franciscan sisters, other groups of sisters they were able to meet. She was most inspired by Sister Justin because she was always fighting for justice. She believes that one of her greatest achievements was leaving the comfort of the United States and going to Bolivia to help the people. That was very difficult for her but she worked through it.


“As a missionary Franciscan sister I think I’m guided by what Francis did and what our foundress Mary Mother Ignatius did.”

“I think Francis always tried to reach out to people who were poor. And there are many ways we can be poor – and we can have enough material things and no religious value. And that’s an important piece to instill, the religious values – the love of God, love of ones neighbor, and respect for one another.”

“I think that’s what attracted me to the Franciscan sisters and I saw the kind of work they did and I thought, gee, I would like to be able to do things like that.”

“Its like your dream is realized, you get put on the road, realizing its maybe a struggle but that’s okay because we all have struggles in life.”

“A lot of people have inspired me, but I think sister Justin was the one who inspired me the most. She was always fighting for justice, the name suits her.”