Sister Ellen McMahon, OP (formerly Sister Mary James), was a woman of faith, generosity and great determination. She was a member of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell for 60 years. Her parents, Dorothy and James McMahon, instilled in her the example of kindness and compassion for others.

Sister Ellen was an educator and a strong believer in Catholic education. She served as a teacher at Our Lady of the Lake School, Verona; Saint Theresa School, Paterson; Saint Peter the Apostle School, Parsippany; and Saint Virgil School, Morris Plains. As a teacher, she enjoyed teaching upper grade math and interacting with her students as a basketball coach.

After receiving a master’s degree in administration from Seton Hall University, she became principal at Saint Catherine School, Hillside; Saint Aedan School, Jersey City; Saint Matthew School, Ridgefield; and Notre Dame School, Palisades Park. During her time as principal, she used her gifts and talents to keep the tuition costs down and worked to acquire equitable pay for the faculty and staff.

Sister desired to be of service to others when she retired from school administration. She enjoyed her time at Marian Manor and looked forward to her conversations with the residents each day. Sister Ellen also worked as a receptionist at Saint Catherine of Siena Convent and Healthcare Center where she was happy being with the sisters and greeting their visitors.

Sister Ellen was satisfied with the simple things in life. Trips to Cape Cod and Maine gave her an opportunity for sailboat rides and whale watching. Sports, movies, and puzzles occupied her time at home.

Sister Ellen had great fortitude. She faced her illness with courage and determination. Her spirit will live on in the lives of those she touched.

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