Aston – Sister Mary Ellen Farley, OSF (formerly Sister Michael Bernadette), 85, died in Seattle, Washington, on January 15, 2022. She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 61 years. Sister Mary Ellen was born in San Francisco, California. Prior to her entrance to the congregation in 1959, she was a member of St. John of the Woods Parish and a graduate of St. Leo School in Tacoma, Washington. Her cousin, Sister Elaine Thaden, is also a member of the congregation. Sister Mary Ellen professed her first vows in 1961. She earned a B.S. in sociology and a Masters of Education, both from Gonzaga University.  She ministered primarily in education and spiritual ministry.

During her 19 years in the Archdiocese of Portland, Sister Mary Ellen ministered at the Franciscan Renewal Center and Blessed Sacrament Parish/School. At Bethany House she worked with Catholic Family Services and Catholic Community Services, where she engaged in adult education and spiritual direction. Additional ministry in the archdiocese included serving as director of the HHholistic Franciscan Counseling Center, working at both the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Portland and the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Milwaukie, and serving in local house ministry at Bethany Convent.

Sister Mary Ellen also ministered for 18 years in the Diocese of Spokane. There she taught at St. Charles School and served as administrator at St. Anne’s Home.  Additional ministry included one year in the San Bernardino Diocese, where she taught at St. Thomas School in Riverside, California.

During her 17 years in the Archdiocese of Seattle, Sister Mary Ellen taught at St. Charles School in Seattle. She also served as a driver and interim coordinator at the former St. Ann Convent in Tacoma. In 2011 she became a resident of St. Ann’s and served in prayer ministry until the facility closed. Then in 2018, she moved to St. Joseph Residence in Seattle, where she lived until her death.

All services will be held at St. Leo Church, 710 S 13th St, Tacoma, Washington, on Friday, January 28, 2022, beginning at 12 P.M. (Noon). Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Sister Mary Ellen is survived by her cousins, Sister Elaine Thaden, OSF, and Fr. Roy Thaden, SJ; her sisters, Barbara Reichmuth (Anton) and Sue Farley; brother, Tom Farley (Janice); nieces and nephews; and her Franciscan family. Donations in her name can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.

The Mass at St. Leo’s Church begins on Friday, January 28, at 12 P.M. PST or 3 P.M. EST.  Live streaming has been scheduled on St. Leo’s YouTube channel:

For a more personal write-up on Sister Mary Ellen, click here.