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JOY, Mary Agnes

On November 6, Mary began her new life with the risen Christ after having suffered a stroke several days earlier. She leaves behind her loving husband of 48 years, Thomas. She will be missed by cousins Sister Pauline Lally, Tom Lally, Paul Lally, Mary Rose Boyle, Basil Hanley, and Jim Hanley, and by her sisters-in-law Marg Duchene and Connie Bastien, and many beloved nephews, nieces and cousins.


Visitation will take place at St. Joseph’s Church, 174 Wilbrod Ave., Ottawa. on Thursday, November 14 at 10:30am, followed by a Celebration of Life liturgy at 11:30 and a reception in the church hall.


The family wishes to give a special thank you to the nursing staff at the Ottawa Civic ICU, and to Dr. Michael Hardwick for his guidance and compassion at a very difficult time in our lives.


Mary was born on April 30, 1941, in Belleville, Ontario, where she was educated by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. No doubt influenced by their example, Mary entered the Order after

high school and, following a period of formation, spent the next seven years teaching in their schools. When Mary discerned that the life of a sister was not really God’s plan for her, she left the Order, moved to Ottawa, and continued teaching for the two Catholic School Boards in the area. She also served for a few years as an educational consultant with the Ottawa Catholic District School Board. After Mary took an early retirement for health reasons, she followed a course of studies in theology at St. Paul University.


Mary always aspired to follow Jesus’ two great commandments, to “ love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbour as yourself.” Throughout her life, Mary was a profoundly spiritual person who practiced daily meditation and prayer. She made time for anyone who crossed her path, especially children. She was an attentive listener who communicated a sincere concern for all. She also volunteered for many community activities, including the Refugee Committee at St. Joseph’s parish, Helping with Furniture, the Ottawa Lay School of Theology, and the Reading Association.


In lieu of flowers, Mary would have appreciated donations to one of the following charities: St. Joseph’s Women’s Centre and Supper Table, and CEFO (the Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa, a registered charity whose main focus is to raise funds to alleviate poverty for students in the Ottawa Catholic School Board). To donate, please visit the following link:


May you rest in peace, Mary.

7 responses to “JOY, Mary Agnes”

  1. Jocelyn Rait says:

    Dear Tom, We are so very sorry to hear of Mary’s death. She was a good friend and a great supporter of equality for women, especially through her membership in CNWE, which was how I knew her. I have such good memories of our meetings together. Alec and I send you our deepest sympathy, and our prayers.

  2. Jocelyne Desjardins says:

    To Tom, Shannon McKee-Bossé and family, my most sincere condolences for Mary’s passing. She was loved and will be deeply missed. May knowing that she no longer suffers and is with her Savior as well as the support of loved ones help you through this difficult time. You are in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Again, my sincere condolences.

  3. Monica Cullum says:

    Dear Tom – It was a great joy to share the hospitality of your home so recently with other members of CNWE and to experience Mary’s spiritual commitment first hand. That will remain a special memory for me. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Monica Cullum

  4. Susan Roll says:

    Thinking of Mary brings a smile to my face. What a gift she was, with her combination of deep, warm spirituality and common sense. We will miss her dearly in CNWE. Keeping you in prayer.

  5. Heather Anderson says:

    I will remember Mary with great affection. I have fond memories of her and the time we spent chatting, drinking tea, and discussing life. Bill and I send our sincere sympathies to Tom and the family.

  6. Virginia Lafond says:

    Dear Tom and all of Mary Joy’s Family,
    Raymond and I offer you our profound condolences.

    Indeed, about Mary Joy there is so much to celebrate.

    Mary and I came to know each other through the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality. We met in the late eighties at one of its conferences here in Ottawa. In 2001 we travelled Ireland together for the two weeks around the First Women’s Ordination Worldwide Conference in Dublin. Mary was a fabulous, very enthusiastic companion beginning from our planning meetings. I learned that she, like me, had never been to Ireland though both her parents were born there. She was obviously serious about visiting heritage sites and getting to know Irish folks. She accepted my suggestion to stay in Bed & Breakfasts so we could actually have conversations with some Irish people. Because of her desires, we got to Glendalough, the Abbey Theatre, and more – and we met some more Irish when we took a day’s tour from Dublin to Waterford (where my parents had visited). We loved it all. Highlights that day included a Waterford Crystal Factory tour and the boat ride on the River Barrow with its fantastic meal. A detail here: On the boat ride, Mary enjoyed her whiskey-laced porkchops with buttered cabbage as well as her Irish alcohol drink of choice, Bud Light. I think I saw her eyes roll as I stuck with Guinness.

    You might also be interested in what happened in the Dublin Tourism Centre where we were purchasing our tickets before we set out. When I overheard Mary say in full voice, “Oh yes, we are Canadians and we are both here to attend the Women’s Ordination Worldwide Conference.” I, having been sternly coached by an Irish colleague to keep a very low profile on our reason for being in Ireland, was saying in my mind to Mary, a polite “keep quiet, Mary!” However, I soon learned I was out of order as the upshot came fast. The agent she was dealing with appeared most sympathetic and went to the back to bring out her supervisor. Both congratulated us, and one said approvingly, “It’s about time for women’s ordination!” They then went on to tell us about an archbishop who had denounced many times over women’s ordination and married priesthood. After his death, as they explained, his ‘wife’, on behalf of herself and his children, came forward to demand financial support from the church. There were then other women with similar experiences who joined the cue. We learned all this because Mary spoke up.

    Among my sweetest memories of our voyage together through Ireland, are the visits to pubs with Mary. What I soon found out was that she knew the words to all the Irish songs and she would sing those songs with that beautiful voice of hers – indeed, as I’ve always described it, with the voice of an angel.

    Mary played an active part in the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – opening the Joy home for out of town folks here for CNWE conferences, CNWE meetings, and for Eucharistic celebrations including our most recent one in September.

    I give profound thanks for your presence in my life, Mary. I know we loved each other. Each of our hugs was as if it would be our last. Please continue to be close to us. Do pray for us all. Thanks!!!

    Virginia Lafond
    Nov. 12/19

  7. Dianna K. Goneau Inkster says:

    What did George Bernard Shaw say about the unreasonable man? I’m of Irish Protestant stock as well as other linguistic groups. I mourn this woman’s passing even if I never met here.

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