Nora Mary Dennehy

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Nora Mary Dennehy

September 14, 1933 - July 17, 2017

Nora Mary Dennehy Nora Mary Dennehy, RGS, went to her eternal reward one year ago, on July 17, 2017. We debated and delayed preparing this obituary, because our Aunt Nora was such a humble individual that she might see it as bragging, leaving the authors of this obituary in a bad spot, dealing with an angry nun who has the immediate attention of the Almighty. However, her life story is sufficiently remarkable, that we thought it was important to publish it as an inspiration to others.

Nora Dennehy was born Sept. 14, 1933, in Philadelphia, to John Dennehy and Winifred (Byrne) Dennehy. She grew up in a religious home, with her brothers John and Francis, and her sister Winifred. Nora realized she was her father's favorite child, and when she asked her mother why, she replied, "Because you listen to him."

On her 19th birthday, Nora entered the Good Shepherd community, and in 1958 she made her final vows. She worked as Director of Social Services in several residential treatment facilities in the Philadelphia area. Education was very important to Sister Nora, and she obtained her bachelor's degree from Marywood College, and her Master's Degree in Education in Counseling from American University.

From 1970 to 1976, she served as Provincial Superior. She strongly encouraged an investment in education by her Sisters. The number of Sisters completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees increased greatly during her administration.

She then founded the Lifeline Program in the Philadelphia area, and served as Director for 14 years. In this program, she worked with pregnant adolescents and young mothers to provide them the skills and resources needed to bring their babies to safe delivery and healthy early childhood. Her Pro-Life work continued throughout her life.

Sister Nora earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Temple University in 1980, and became an international speaker and trainer in programs to develop and promote responsible sexual behavior in teens and young adults. Her brother, John, who was a MD at Geisinger, said that his sister Nora was "The Real Doctor Dennehy."

By 2012, failing health resulted in her transfer to St. Joseph Residence in Baltimore, Md. However, Sister Nora resisted retirement, and saw her ministry as assisting with socialization activities for elder Sisters. She continued at St. Joseph until her passing at age 84. She was laid to rest beside Sisters of her Order at New Cathedral Cemetery, Catonsville, Md.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, John J. Dennehy, MD; and her brother-in-law, Harry Young. Her brother, Francis Dennehy, died earlier in 2018.

Nora is survived by her sister, Winifred Young, of Plymouth Meeting; her sister-in-law (and Winifred's high school classmate), Idita Dennehy, of Riverside; her sister-in-law Margaret Dennehy, of Mays Landing, N.J.; and her nieces and nephews, Michael, John, Patrick, Kathleen, Mary, Tom, Frank, Robert, Christine, Terry, Mary, Tim, Joe, Patricia, Monica, Daniel, Christopher and Caroline, as well as their spouses, significant others, and children, who all remember her kindness, faithfulness, humility and gentleness, as well as her keen mind and intellect, and her drive to serve others. She is also survived by the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, working tirelessly in service and prayer around the globe.

The world is a better place because Nora lived. That's the way we all should hope to be remembered. As it is said in Matthew 25:23, "Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Requiescat In Pace.
Published on July 27, 2018
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