Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Mass of the Resurrection, 10:30 a.m.
Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana
Visitors are welcome; please adhere to mask and social distance guidelines while in the church.
You may view the livestreamed Mass on YouTube.
Read the memories shared at Sister Mary Elizabeth's funeral.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Loughran, CSC
(Sister M. Thomas Joseph), CSC
May 14, 1934–December 29, 2022
We share news of the death of Sister Mary Elizabeth Loughran (Sister M. Thomas Joseph), CSC, who died at 4:56 p.m. on December 29, 2022, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Mary Elizabeth entered the Congregation from Canton, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1955. Her initial profession of vows took place on August 15, 1958.
Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Loughran was born on May 14, 1934, in Warren, Rhode Island, to parents Thomas Joseph and Mary Adelyne (MacMaster) Loughran. There were five other children in the family: Jane Ann, James, Michael, Lawrence and Thomas. Her father was the office manager for Cook Lumber Company in Boston, Massachusetts. Mary Elizabeth attended Catholic grade schools and high schools, graduating in 1951 from Holy Cross Academy in Brookline, Massachusetts, staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. From an early age, she felt called to religious life. The friendliness and kindness of the sisters to her during her high school years influenced her decision to enter the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The death of her father while she was in high school may have prompted her to postpone entering college so that she could be with her family for a short while. Mary Elizabeth did enroll in Emmanuel College in Boston and graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in German language and literature and a minor in music.
Mary Elizabeth entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, a few months after graduation from Emmanuel College. Upon reception of the holy habit on August 15, 1956, she received the religious name Sister M. Thomas Joseph, her father’s name. In 1967, when the option became available, she returned to the use of her baptismal name. Her first 16 years of ministry, from 1958 to 1974, Sister was a teacher of English and music in high schools and colleges staffed by Sisters of the Holy Cross in the eastern United States. In 1968, she earned a master’s degree in English language and literature from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Pursuing the master’s degree while still teaching required several summers of intense study, also.
By the early 1970s, Sister Mary Elizabeth had developed a desire to serve in parish ministry in both catechesis and liturgical music. In the summers from 1973 to 1976, she began studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in liturgical music and religious education. She received permission to complete these studies as a full-time student during the next two years. In 1978, she earned a master’s degree in liturgical music and in 1979, a master’s degree in religion and religious education.
After seven years of liturgical and catechetical ministry in three parishes in Maryland, Sister Mary Elizabeth had the opportunity in 1983 to serve in the Congregation’s apostolate abroad in Brazil. She embraced this challenge with enthusiasm. The last 27 years of her active ministry were in Brazil. The first four years were at Colégio Santa Maria in São Paulo, where she taught music and directed the college music program. Ten years followed at Telêmaco Borba, Paraná, where she was coordinator of catechesis and director of liturgical music in the large parish of Our Lady of Fatima. Sister Mary Elizabeth also enrolled in Bible studies at the Center for Biblical Studies in Curitiba. These studies prompted her to establish and teach Bible courses, not only for the laity, but for sisters and novices of different religious communities. During these years she found time to write liturgical music for the use of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, some of which was copyrighted. Sister Mary Elizabeth was present at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, for the celebration of the Congregation’s sesquicentennial in the summer of 1991, when the music she had composed for the occasion was performed.
While in Telêmaco Borba, she was a member of the Leadership Council of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Brazil.
From April 1997 to August 1998, Sister Mary Elizabeth enjoyed a sabbatical period in the United States. During the period of her sabbatical, she participated in a spiritual enrichment program at St. Stephen’s Priory in Dover, Massachusetts. Sister was able to spend time enjoying family visits with her sister and brothers, also.
In 1999, Sister returned to the Holy Cross community, Maria Aparecida, in Salvador, Bahia, where she served as the director of novices for the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Brazil. Two years later, she moved to Vila Nazaré in São Paulo, where she ministered for her last 10 years in Brazil as assistant director of candidates and as a retreat director. Whenever her schedule allowed, Sister continued to provide service in parish ministry and liturgical music.
Sister Mary Elizabeth, throughout her life, enjoyed family visits and travel in the United States and other countries. With her sister, Jane Ann, who lived in New Mexico, she saw beautiful mountain scenery on their trips together in the western areas of the United States. She also traveled to Bangladesh and Uganda to connect with the Holy Cross sisters there and share their solidarity in mission together. In 1993, she participated in the Moreau Pilgrimage with a group of Holy Cross sisters who traveled to Le Mans, France, to study and appreciate the history and charism of Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The group had the opportunity to visit many sites of the Congregation’s legacy in the Holy Land, France and Italy.
Sister Mary Elizabeth was a woman totally committed to her life of prayer and service in religious life. Those who lived with her, ministered with her, and participated in both spiritual and professional activities with her speak today of her competency, enthusiastic support, responsibility and creativity. She was a member always involved in each of her local communities. She gave her all to whatever she undertook. Among the activities she enjoyed for relaxation were listening to classical music and setting poems to music.
In 2013, she left Brazil and retired to Saint Mary’s Convent, where she continued
her life of prayer, ministry and community. She has now joined the community of the heavenly choir in praising God, whom she served so well.
We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.—Written by Sister Grace Shonk, CSC