Sister Mary Lillian, 87, nun, longtime teacher


Sister Mary Lillian Byrne, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame who taught for many decades, died of kidney failure Jan. 11 at Maria Health Care Center. She was 87.

Born Esther Elizabeth Byrne in Baltimore, she was baptized at St. Martin Roman Catholic Church and attended St. Ambrose Elementary School and Seton High School, from which she graduated in 1935. Three years later, she entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She took the religious name of Sister Mary Lillian in honor of her mother and professed her vows in 1941.

Sister Lillian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Nazareth College of Rochester, N.Y., and a master's degree in education from Loyola College in Maryland.

She taught in many elementary and junior high schools in New York and Maryland. In Baltimore, she taught at St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Andrew's, St. Joseph's Monastery and St. Brigid's. She also taught at Notre Dame Academy in Libertytown, while her last assignment was at St. Jane Frances in Riviera Beach. She retired in 1993.

"She was a teacher all her life," said Sister Joan M. Bastress, administrator of pastoral care at the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Villa Assumpta, the order's motherhouse in the Woodbrook section of Baltimore County.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered last week.

Sister Lillian is survived by nieces, nephews and cousins.

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