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Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa

commend to your charity the soul of their beloved


who was born October 24, 1927, and

who departed this life May 25, 2014,

in the 68th year of her religious life.

Visitation: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, with a wake service at 7 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial: Thursday, May 29, 2014, at 1 p.m.

Presider: Fr. Tim Seigel

May she rest in peace 

Mary Lou was born on October 24, 1927, and grew up on Cloverdale Farm in rural Hopkinton, Iowa.  She attended South Fork rural school through eighth grade, and stayed with her grandparents for the first two years of high school at Hopkinton Public.  For her junior and senior years she boarded at the convent and attended St. Paul Catholic High School in Worthington, Iowa. 

On Aug. 25, 1945, Mary Lou entered Mount St. Francis, leaving her parents: Louis and Veronica (Turnis) Murray; her brothers, Patrick and Charles; and her sister, Monica.  She was received the following year and given the name, Sister Mary James, in honor of a brother who had died shortly after birth.  After making her first profession in 1948, she was assigned to teach seventh grade at Bancroft.  She loved teaching, but the lack of any hills or bluffs in that area made her very homesick.  To counter this, she would sometimes climb the church tower.

Mary Lou's father died suddenly in 1956 while she was at St. Mary's, Cascade.  This was a difficult time for her.  She was later assigned to Melrose Park, where she taught eighth grade and was principal.  Following this, she moved into secondary education, teaching at Pocahontas, Wahlert, Bancroft, and Columbus.  Mary Lou enjoyed teaching as well as working with the students in speech contests, plays, and newspaper.  During the summers she attended school at Loras, Briar Cliff, and Creighton in Omaha where she earned her M.A. in 1971. 

In 1969, Mary Lou came into the Baptism of the Spirit in Omaha, and this began her work with the charismatic renewal.  She worked with the Jesus people in Waterloo and regularly ministered to a group of prisoners in the Anamosa Reformatory.  In 1972, Mary Lou moved to Los Angeles to work full time in a drug rehabilitation center for teenage girls.  In working with women involved with drugs, she saw in a new way the power of God's unconditional love working in their lives.  She began praying for healing, especially inner healing.

In 1973, Mary Lou returned to Dubuque to help care for her mother.  After a 30 day retreat in 1977, she opened a house of prayer and healing in Dubuque.  She gave talks and weekend seminars in various places throughout the United States until her health failed and she retired to Mount St. Francis in 1996.  She moved to Holy Family Hall in 2004.      

Sister is survived by her sister Monica Murray, nieces, nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared 67 years of her life

Sister was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Charles (Anna), Patrick (Mary Eileen), and James.

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