Rosemont, Pennsylvania – Sister Jacqueline (Jackie) Jelley, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 72 years, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. She was 93.
Born and raised in California, Sister Jacqueline graduated from Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena. After high school, she entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and made her first and final vows in 1950 and 1955, respectively. She became well known by her religious name Mother Mary Cecile.
Sister Jackie began her teaching ministry at Saint Mary School in Melrose, Mass. (1950-51). In 1951, she returned to the West Coast, where she served as a teacher and administrator at Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena (1951-62). Sister Jackie then taught at Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena (1962-66 and 1968-69) and Cornelia Connelly School of the Holy Child in Anaheim (1966-68).
In 1969, Sister Jackie moved back to the East Coast, where she worked as an educational consultant for a nonprofit in Cambridge, Mass. In 1970, Sister Jackie shifted her focus from education to advocacy and public service, which she pursued for the next two decades. In New York, she served as a special assistant to New York City’s City Council, and in Washington, D.C., she worked in several capacities, including as a field and editorial director for the United States Congress, the director of finance and marketing at The Network, and a senior reference specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sister Jackie earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Library Science from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in 1957 and 1962, respectively. Sister Jackie published several papers, was recognized by The Southern California Council on Children’s Literature, led organizational and financial management seminars, and served on several committees, including the Catholic Library Association and National Catholic Summer Reading Program.
Margaret (Peggy) Crowley, SHCJ, who lived in community with Sister Jackie, shared the following about Sister Jackie. “Sister Jackie wanted to deliberate widely on issues and loved to debate. She read The Economist, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair magazine. She worked for the former Mayor of New York John Lindsay and her former student James (Jimmy) Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, on the National Democratic Committee. She volunteered as a docent at the Washington National Cathedral and as a librarian at The Seed Charter School in Washington, D.C. At monthly open houses, Jackie gathered a variety of individuals to discuss world affairs in our home, where she served her signature dishes of garlic bread and deviled eggs! Most of all, Jackie loved people and will be remembered by many, including for her unique name - Jacqueline Jelley.
Sister Jackie is predeceased by her parents, Earl D. and Grace (Sayers), and her sister, Diane Miller. She is survived by her brother-in-law James Miller, niece Jacqueline (Thomas Anderson), and nephews James (Gina Miller), Michael (Allie Miller), and Greg (Andrea Miller), and grandnieces and grandnephews.
Friends and family are invited to a Funeral Mass on Thursday, May 11, at 11:00 a.m., at Holy Child Chapel, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, Pennsylvania. Preceding Mass, there will be a visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010, or made online at www.shcj.org/american/donate.