Mercy Sister Mollie Brown, 88; founding member of Spirit House

Gina Capellazzi/Catholic Courier    |    06.11.2019
Category: Obituaries


Sister of Mercy Mollie Brown, who worked as a registered nurse and psychotherapist before founding the former Spirit House as a place of healing for women religious and laity, died April 29, 2019. She was 88 years old.

Sister Brown entered the congregation on Aug. 29, 1948, after graduating from Our Lady of Mercy High School i Brighton. She taught at St. John the Evangelist School, Rochester; St. Rita School, Webster; and Notre Dame High School, Elmira, prior to earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Duquesne University. She also earned a master’s degree in nursing education from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in human development from the University of Chicago. She completed a second certificate of study program at the Jungian Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.

Sister Brown was a teacher at St. James Mercy Hospital, on staff at Steuben County Mental Health Clinic, a faculty member at the University of Rochester’s Nursing Department and Nazareth College, and assistant administrator at Genesee Mental Health Center.

Sister Brown had a private practice as a psychotherapist for nine years. In 1981, she became a founding member of Spirit House Inc., a joint venture of the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Joseph and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The facility ministered to women religious seeking health in mind, body and spirit. Sister Brown served as director for 15 years. Spirit House eventually welcomed laypeople of any denomination and remained a place for healing until its closing in 2013.

In addition to authoring several publications in both religious and secular journals, she also wrote the book Victim No More: Ministry to Survivors of Sexual Abuse in 1994.

Sister Brown is survived by her sister, Marcia (Bruce) Hoeffel; sisters-in-law Aljean and Katheryn Brown; nieces and nephews; dear friend, Sister Mary Ann Ayers; and her sisters in the congregation.

Her funeral liturgy was celebrated at the Mercy Center chapel in Brighton on May 2, 2019, with burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Contributions in her memory may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 1437 Blossom Road, Rochester, NY 14610.

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