Patrick Joseph Morley and Mary Catherine Finnegan shared a common heritage as immigrants from County Mayo, Ireland, when they met and fell in love in their adopted hometown of Chicago. Their marriage in 1926 would lead to four children: Frank, John, Eileen, and Rita Jean, who would become Sister Sean Morley.
Rita Jean, the youngest of the Morley siblings, was born May 25, 1933. Patrick worked for the Illinois Central Railroad and Mary Catherine oversaw home and family until tragedy struck: Patrick died when Rita Jean was just ten years old, and Mary Catherine provided for herself and her children by going to work as a clerk at the Adler Planetarium.
Still, “my mother continued the spirit of our home with the importance of God in our life, and so our home was filled with laughter and we were very happy,” Sister Sean said in her autobiography. She remained very close with her mother until Mary Catherine died, like her husband at a relatively young age, in 1954.
The family lived in St. Laurence Parish and the children attended the parish school. Rita Jean went on to Loretto Academy for two years and then to Aquinas High School, where she was educated by Adrian Dominicans. Her sister, Eileen, fifteen months her senior, wanted to join the Congregation directly after eighth grade; their mother refused permission at that time but Eileen did enter after her second year of high school, becoming Sister Patrick Mary.
Read more about Sister Sean (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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My deepest sympathy to Sister Sean’s family & community. I was saddened to hear of her death. She left her mark on St. Cajetan’s School and the neighborhood surrounding it. What a blessing to have known her!
Peace be with you, Sister Sean and thanks for the many great years you devoted to St. Cajetan’s..
A bit of Chicago passes on. When ever we met that connection resonated Go in Peace and sing those wonderful Irish songs
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.