Celebrating Jubilee in 2020

Sisters Mary Francis Burke, Hilary Mullany, and William McCue


Three Clinton Franciscan Sisters celebrated Jubilee, their anniversary of entrance into religious life, during the summer of 2020. Sisters Mary Francis Burke, Hilary Mullany, and William McCue have a combined 220 years of service to God's people. A public Mass and celebration were postponed due to the current pandemic.


Sister Mary Francis Burke


Sister Mary Francis Burke celebrated 75 years of religious life. She was born in Charlotte, IA, and graduated from St. Joseph High School, DeWitt. Sister Francis taught in a rural Clinton County school for one year prior to entering the Sisters of St. Francis in September 1945. She professed final vows in August 1951.


Sister Francis received an A.A. degree from Mount St. Clare College, Clinton; a B.A. in Elementary Education from the College of St. Teresa, Winona, MN; and an M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA.


Sister Francis began her ministry as a primary teacher in parochial schools in Oak Lawn, Chicago, and Rochelle, IL; Maysville, KY; and Victor and Lidderdale, IA. She was among the first group of Clinton Franciscans to serve internationally, helping establish Mary Star of the Sea School in Freeport, Grand Bahama, in 1960. This school accepted children of all ethnic backgrounds and played a major role in the education of Black children in Freeport. Sister Francis later ministered as teacher and/or principal in schools in Clinton, DeWitt, and Perry, IA; Reedley and El Cajon, CA; and Chicago Heights, IL.


Besides her career in education, Sister Francis assisted in the occupational therapy department at The Alverno, Clinton, for three years and as director at Mount St. Clare Convent for six years. Additionally, she served as a home health care aide in Clinton, DeWitt, and Lake Havasu City, AZ.


Sister Francis retired from active ministry in 2006. In the Franciscan spirit of care for creation, she was often found outdoors at The Canticle picking produce or tending flower beds. She moved to The Alverno in November 2017, where she currently resides.


Sister Hilary Mullany


Sister Hilary Mullany, a native of Macomb, IL, celebrated 75 years of religious life. She attended St. Paul's Elementary School in Macomb and Mount St. Clare Academy in Clinton, and graduated from St. Mary's Academy, Nauvoo, IL, in 1945.


Sister Hilary entered the Sisters of St. Francis in September 1945, and professed final vows in August 1951. She earned an A.A. degree from Mount St. Clare College; a B.A. in Liturgical Music from the University of Montreal, Canada; and a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.


Sister Hilary taught elementary school and music in Chicago and Oak Lawn, IL; and Clinton and Danbury, IA; before beginning a twenty-year career teaching speech and drama at Mount St. Clare Academy and College. She also directed the theatre program, including children's theatre and one-act play festivals.


For thirteen years, she served as media coordinator for the Diocese of Davenport, IA, and co-produced the half-hour television programs, "Real to Reel." She served on the congregation's leadership team from 1984 to 2002, returning to Mount St. Clare College in 1987. She ministered as assistant to the President in charge of continuing education and cultural activities. She continued part-time ministry at the college from 1994 to 2002 as Alumni Counselor, and later as Communication and Resource Coordinator.


Sister Hilary is a former board member of: Davenport Diocesan Communications Advisory Board, Diocesan Catholic Relief Service, Campaign for Human Development Advisory Board, Diocesan Social Action, The Alverno Health Care Facility, Sisters United News of the Upper Mississippi Valley, and Clinton Community Theatre.


Sister Hilary currently serves as a board member for the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. She previously performed in some of its productions as well as being a guest performer at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, IL.


In 2002, she received the Poverello Award for distinguished serve to society awarded by the Mount St. Clare Board of Trustees. In 2005, the theater at Ashford University was renamed the Sister Hilary Mullany Theater in her honor. She was named the 2007 YWCA Clinton Woman of Achievement. In 2011, she was recognized as a Franciscan Federation Peacemaker Honoree.


Sister Hilary retired in 2014, and currently resides at The Canticle. She devotes her time to the liturgy committee, chapel environment, and Compassion Circle.


Sister William McCue


Sister William McCue celebrated 70 years of religious life. A native of Sterling, IL, she attended St. Mary Elementary School and graduated from Catholic Community (now Newman) High School, Sterling, in 1950. She joined the Sisters of St. Francis in September 1950, professing final vows in August 1956.


Sister William earned an A.A. degree from Mount St. Clare College; a B.A. in Philosophy from Creighton University, Omaha, NE; and an M.A. in Theology from University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. She did further study at St.

Bonaventure University, Allegany, NY, and participated in Franciscan study/pilgrimages to Assisi and Rome.


Sister William's lifelong ministry was in the field of education, including elementary, secondary, and university levels. She taught at schools in Clinton; Rochelle and Chicago, IL; and Chino, CA. She taught at Mount St. Clare Academy from 1966 until its closing in 1980, and at Mount St. Clare College beginning in 1964. During her tenure there, Mount St. Clare College grew from a junior college to a four-year college, and subsequently advanced to university status, undergoing several name changes in the process.


Sister William served as chair of the philosophy/religious studies department and humanities division. She moderated the Sophomore Honor Society. In May 2009, she received the Founders Award for distinguished service to Mount St. Clare College. She also received the Faculty Excellence for Teaching Award from Ashford University. Sister William retired from teaching in 2015 and earned Professor Emerita status.


In addition to her teaching career, Sister William served for two years as postulant director for young women seeking admission to the Sisters of St. Francis and was co-founder of the congregation's Associate Partnership.


During retirement, Sister William continues to lead discussion sessions about the Rule of St. Francis and the life of St. Clare for her peers at The Canticle. She assists with the Franciscan Peace Center's Share Our Sandwiches program, volunteers in The Canticle reception office, and has been helping cut fabric for the Clinton County Mask Taskforce. Her hobby is needle work, especially knitting and cross-stitch.