Obituary of Mary Blish
Religious of the Sacred Heart Mary Blish died June 21, 2017, at Teresian
House, Albany, NY
Mary Blish was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 17, 1928, the daughter of
Charles Cheney Blish and Florence Walsh Blish. Although she was an only
child she was the oldest of many cousins and, according to one of them, "she
was a beauty and her younger cousins loved her."
Mary was educated by the Dominican sisters in Chicago until college when she
received her BA from Maryville College of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis. MO.
She later received her MA from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and,
in 1967, her PhD from St. Louis University.
In 1950 Mary entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany,
NY, made her First Vows there in 1953 and her Final Profession of Vows in
Rome, Italy, in 1959.
Throughout her life Mary had the"heart of an educator." A superb English
professor, she taught in Albany, NY, in Grand Coteau, LA, in Cincinnati, OH,
at Maryville College where she served as President for four years, and
finally at Manhattanville College for thirteen years.
Judging from the faithful correspondence and outpouring of affection that
have followed her through the years since, however, the highlight of her
ministerial life seems to have been the time she spent, from 1977-1991, as
Visiting Professor of English at Seishin Daigaku (Sacred Heart University)
in Tokyo, Japan. When she heard of Sr. Blish's death, one of her Sacred
Heart sisters wrote, "Through her 18 years of teaching . . . she helped
students to think and explore, to quest for something their hearts desire. .
. . Students, faculty and RSCJ community all remember her with deep
gratitude for her irreplaceable contributions and innumerable kindnesses . .
." This tribute was made evident in the visit, just this past August, of a professor
and his wife, who came from Tokyo specifically to visit Sr. Blish who had been so
important to him in his own education.
After further teaching at the University of the Sacred Heart (Gong-Sim) in
Chunchon Gangwon-do, Korea, Sr. Blish returned to the USA and worked as a
researcher and editor for the US province of the Society of the Sacred Heart
and as a tutor at Xavier University and the Wright School in New Orleans,
Wherever she went, her upright posture (which she also enjoined on others!)
spoke of her dignity, the twinkle in her eye of her sometimes mischievous
humor, and her radiant smile of her faithful, joyful and loving heart. Those
characteristics remained with her until the end and endeared her to the
staff who cared for her at Teresian House.
Mary died as she lived: so totally given she slipped away almost
imperceptibly, into the heart of God. She is survived by numerous devoted
family members and by her grateful and loving RSCJ sisters.
Sr. Blish's funeral will be at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, June 28 in the Infant of Prague Chapel at
Teresian House. She will subsequently be buried in the Kenwood Cemetery