December 11, 1938 – April 13, 2021
Sister Mary Ellen Neeves, OSU, also known as Sister Philip Marie, died peacefully April 13, 2021, at St. Andrew’s at Francis Place in Eureka, Missouri.
Born Dec. 11, 1938, in Bloomington, Illinois, to William Vernon and Mildred Knecht Neeves, she entered the Ursuline community in 1956 and professed her vows in 1959. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle in New York and a master’s degree from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Sister Mary Ellen was a teacher, principal, spiritual director and Ursuline leader. In the St. Louis area, she taught at St. Peter Catholic School in Kirkwood from 1962-65; was a teacher and assistant principal at St. Joseph School in Clayton from 1965-68, taught at St. Rose of Lima School in De Soto from 1975-76 and at St. Mary Magdalen School in St. Louis from 1990-92.
Serving in Illinois, she was principal of St. Ambrose School in Alton from 1968-71, leader of the Ursuline community in Decatur from 1976-78, and principal of St. Aloysius School in Springfield from 1985-88. She was principal of St. Angela Merici School in Metairie, Louisiana, from 1971-74.
She was the provincial leader of the Ursulines’ Central Province from 1978-84 and a councilor on the leadership team from 1993-96 and 2002-2008. She was the renewal director for the Ursulines of the Roman Union from 1996-2002, serving in Rome, Italy.
Through her varied ministries, Sister Mary Ellen always sought to be of service in the best way she could. She especially loved working with little children, helping them with their reading skills. In later years, she enjoyed tutoring at a local elementary school in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and then at Most Holy Trinity School in St. Louis.
Most recently she volunteered at TEAM (The Emergency Assistance Ministry), a food pantry in Florissant, Missouri. As an intake counselor, she was one of the first contacts with people needing food assistance, and her compassion and kindness were greatly appreciated.
Sister Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Nick Neeves. She is survived by her sister, Shirley (Larry) Warren, and brother Phil Neeves.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at the Ursuline Academy of St. Louis chapel. Burial will be at St. Peter Cemetery.