In Memoriam: Sister Teresa Kelly, SC

It’s a very special kind of job…not many people go to the place where they work and have a child reaching out and running to them saying, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I missed you.’

Sister Teresa Kelly (Sister Marilda John) was born September 25, 1934 in Bronx, New York, one of two daughters of John and Bridget Dougherty Kelly. Teresa attended Saint Athanasius School in the Bronx and Cathedral High School in Manhattan. She attended a one-year training program at the New York Foundling Hospital and then worked there for four years as an infant-care technician. During this time Teresa met and worked with Sister Marilda Joseph Aeillo who was to spend over fifty years in ministry at the Foundling. It was under her guidance that Teresa entered the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1957. They maintained a close and constant friendship until Sister Marilda’s death in August 2014. Sister Teresa received a BA in History from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and an MA in Administration and Group Work from New York University.

After her profession of vows, Sister Teresa returned to the New York Foundling for two years as a Nursery Supervisor. She was then missioned to Saint Mary School, Yonkers, where she taught first grade for four years, a ministry which she also loved. In 1966 she was reassigned to the Foundling as a teacher and supervisor of a Montessori nursery for the next ten years. In 1976 Sister Teresa became the founder and director of the Blaine Hall initiative, a short-term residential diagnostic program for children 4 to 10 years of age who experienced difficulties at school and at home. She worked in the Blaine Hall program for over thirty years. Along with her administrative role, Sister Teresa enjoyed caring for children most of all. She once said, “I wouldn’t work here if I was just in an office. I like to dress the children, take them shopping, and do all the things I’m not supposed to do as a director.…It’s a very special kind of job…not many people go to the place where they work and have a child reaching out and running to them saying, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I missed you.’”


Sr. Teresa at the New York Foundling

Over the course of her forty-eight years at the New York Foundling, Sister Teresa was mentor, friend, confidant and surrogate mother to countless number of children whom she dearly loved. In 2009 Sister Teresa was honored with the James Keller Award, presented by the Christophers to individuals who have contributed to the wellbeing of young people. The children whose lives she touched will long remember the kind, gentle and generous sister who cared for and about them. She is now welcomed into the kingdom by her family and friends, the Sisters of Charity who have gone before her, and our loving God whom she served so long and so well. Be at peace, Sister Teresa.



Date of Death
May 18, 2016


Mount Saint Vincent Convent Assembly Room
6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY 10471
Sunday, May 22, 2016
2:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Prayer Service at 4:30 p.m.

Mass of Resurrection
Mount Saint Vincent Convent Assembly Room
Monday, May 23, 2016
10:30 a.m.

St. Joseph Cemetery
Yonkers, NY



Archdiocese of New York


  • New York Foundling Hospital
    1960–1962, Nursery Supervisor
    1966–1976, Teacher, Supervisor, Montessori Nursery
    1976–1987, Coordinator of Blaine Hall
    1987–2008, Dir. Blaine Hall Diagnostic Center


  • St. Mary School, Yonkers
    1962–1966, Teacher, Gr. 1

4 Responses to In Memoriam: Sister Teresa Kelly, SC

  1. helen murphy May 18, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    she and sr francis dwyer was one of the most special nuns in my heart may they all rest in peace they were all fun loving love Helen Murphy NEW YORK

  2. Bill Baccaglini May 20, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Sister Teresa Kelly was a very, very special woman. Having joined the Foundling in 1966 as a Nursery Supervisor and Teacher, Sister Teresa is probably best known for having directed Blaine Hall, our former diagnostic program for young children with very complex mental health needs. She was the program’s only director, serving from 1974 until it closed in 2008. I have to say that perhaps the most difficult conversation I have ever had was the one in which I had to tell her that the city was closing all diagnostic centers. Through that conversation I came to better understand what it meant for someone to truly have a “broken heart.”

    Upon the closing of Blaine Hall, Sister Teresa retired. Sister spent her entire professional life at the Foundling and, true to form, when she retired, she directed that the bulk of her severance package be donated back to the agency. We have lost not only a truly remarkable woman but also one of the greatest protectors of children that most of us have ever known!

    I extend my condolences to not only her own family but also to our sponsors, the Sisters of Charity.

  3. Eileen Judge,sc May 20, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to our sister!

  4. Janice Booker May 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    I have so many memories of Sr. Teresa or Sr. TK , as I sometimes called her. I have know her since 1986 , as House Supervisor at NYFoundling. Anytime the children on Blaine Hall were sick, admitted,or anything, Sr. Teresa said come and we ran to help. God Bless you Sr. Teresa. I miss you and love you. Rest in Peace!

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