Sister Mary Grace O’Neil, DC.
Sister Mary Grace O’Neil, DC.

Sister Mary Grace O’Neil, DC, 88, died Oct. 28. She was a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul for 68 years.

Born in Worcester, Mass., on Sept. 2, 1923, Sister Mary Grace (Mary Louise) was the only child born to Edward McWilliams and Grace Virginia (Donohoe). Following graduation in 1950 from Mount St. Joseph Academy in Brighton, Mass., Sister Mary Grace entered the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Md., in December of 1951.

Upon completion of initial formation and a brief time serving as a teacher, Sister Mary Grace began her studies in nursing at St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1959, and in 1965, she earned her master’s degree in nursing education from Siena College.

Sister Mary Grace’s nursing ministry often included the care for children and babies, and for over 50 years on mission she would serve at locations throughout the eastern United States: Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. (1959-62); St. Catherine Infant Home in Albany (1962-68); St. Margaret’s Hospital in Boston (1968-70); Labouré Center in Boston (1970-75); St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn. (1975-86); St. Mark’s in Harlem, (1986-88); Seminary Companion at DePaul Provincial House in Albany (1988-90); Sacred Heart in Cohoes, (1990-93); Labouré Sisters Residence in Boston (1993-99); St. Peter’s House in Wilmington, Del., (1999-01); St. John’s Parish Center in Brooklyn (2001-04); and DePaul House in Albany (2004-08). In 2008, Sister Mary Grace entered the Ministry of Prayer at St. Louise House in Albany and served there until her death. Sister Mary Grace was nationally recognized for her service in pediatric nursing. In 1992, she was one of five people chosen to receive a Hero Award from the Pediatric AIDS Foundation for her work at Community Maternity Services, Farano House in Albany, and was featured on “CBS This Morning” as a “hero who stepped forward to impact the discrimination and isolation that surrounds these children.”

Sister Mary Grace is survived by her cousin, Rose Marie Phillips, of Harvest, Ala.; her many friends; and her sisters in Community. A private Mass of Christian Burial was held Oct. 30 at St. Louise House Residence and burial followed at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands.