Sister Mary Louise, 85, president of St. Agnes

Sister Mary Louise Lyons, a former president of St. Agnes Hospital who also headed the old Seton Psychiatric Institute, died of cancer Sunday at her order's Emmitsburg retirement home. She was 85.

Mary Elizabeth Lyons was born in Chicopee, Mass., and entered the Roman Catholic order Daughters of Charity in 1937. She earned a nursing degree from the old St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg and a master's degree at the Catholic University of America.


After teaching in the Philadelphia suburbs and in Lynchburg, Va., and studying psychiatric nursing in Washington, she was assigned to the Seton facility in Northwest Baltimore in 1950. She worked there as a nurse, teaching supervisor, director of nursing and later administrator.

After 13 years at Seton, she became administrator at her order's retirement home, Villa St. Michael, then on the institute's grounds, for three years.


She was administrator at Cumberland's Sacred Heart Hospital and DePaul Hospital in Norfolk, Va., before being named president of what is now St. Agnes HealthCare, a post she held from 1983 to 1991.

In 1981, she was elected secretary of the Maryland Hospital Association. She was also secretary of the psychiatric facilities standard-setting and licensing committee for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She was a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the National League for Nursing.

Before retiring in 2002, she was administrator of the Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg and a pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., and Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland.

In 1991, she wrote in the Journal of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, "Love is the heart of all our relations with others. It is the creative force within ourselves that binds us to others, that enables us to put up with ourselves, to bear with other people, to compromise, to cooperate, to contribute, to accept responsibility, to live and work with others."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg.

Survivors include two brothers, James Lyons of Lewes, Del., and Paul Lyons of Vienna, Va.; a sister, Helen Ebaugh of Wheaton; and nieces and nephews.