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Sister Mary Lucy

Sister Mary Lucy Yingling, a member of the Sisters of Mercy whose career as an educator spanned nearly 50 years, died March 31 of complications from Parkinson's disease at The Villa, an assisted-living facility in the Woodbrook section of Baltimore County that her order shares with the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.

Sister Mary Lucy was 87.

The daughter of a postal worker and a homemaker, she was born Katherine Teresa Yingling, the fifth of nine children, in Washington and raised in Georgetown. She received her elementary and high school education at Holy Trinity School in Washington.

Sister Mary Christopher Bourke, also a member of the Sisters of Mercy who grew up in Washington, remembered Sister Mary Lucy as a "very smart" girl who was like a "little mother" to her younger siblings, whom she escorted home from school every day.

She professed her vows in 1945 and 1948, and she held teaching assignments at St. Peter the Apostle Parochial School in Southwest Baltimore, St. Bernard Parochial School and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Richmond, Va.

While teaching at several parochial schools in Alabama from 1950 to 1956, Sister Mary Lucy returned during the summer months to study at Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1951 in education.

In 1963, she earned a master's degree in administration from Loyola College.

From 1956 to 1961, she was principal of the Mount St. Agnes Lower School for Girls, and later was principal of St. Joseph's in Cockeysville from 1961 to 1967.

She was principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parochial School for a year until being named principal in 1968 of Frances de Sales Parochial School in Salisbury.

Sister Mary Lucy was principal of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart School in Mount Washington for a year before being sent in 1971 to St. Mary's in Rockville, where she was principal for 12 years.

In 1984, she returned to Shrine of the Sacred Heart, where she was principal for a decade until retiring.

Sister Clarita Gibson, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, recalled during those years she often accompanied Sister Mary Lucy, who was an enthusiastic supporter of athletics, to the "Saturday games in which her Shrine students were competing."

"She was an excellent educator and administrator, and popular with the students," said Sister Mary Christopher. "She was a very quiet person but had a very keen sense of humor, and that came out very strongly. She loved a good joke and enjoyed people as well."

Sister Augusta Reilly is a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a retired educator. "Sister Mary Lucy was a no-nonsense parochial school type, and I had a lot of admiration for her," said Sister Augusta.

Sister Mary Lucy enjoyed spending weekends and holidays at her sister Bernadette Y. Gorman's farm in Sykesville, where she liked helping care for nine cows.

"The last time Sister Lucy drove a car several years ago, she was returning to Baltimore on Route 70 with Sister Teresa, when a policeman pulled them over," said a sister, Joan Yingling Dyson of Brookville

"When he looked into the window and saw two nuns, he said, 'Well obviously you haven't been drinking! But, Sister, it is extremely dangerous to be driving 25 mph on the highway with cars going 60 mph. Please drive at least 40 mph to be safe,'" recalled Mrs. Dyson. "After that, Sister Lucy finally hung up her car keys for good."

Sister Mary Lucy enjoyed singing and often sang to Alzheimer's patients.

"The doctor noticed that her songs calmed patients and suggested they be recorded so they could be used in other hospitals," said Mrs. Dyson.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Tuesday at The Villa.

Also surviving is another sister, Jean Y. Gasch of Woodbridge, Va.

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