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Mary Consuela White

WHITE, SISTER MARY CONSUELA, R.S.M. - Portland, Maine - Sister Mary Consuela (nee Florence Mary) White, 91 yrs., died peacefully at Frances Warde Convent, Portland on May 26, 2011. She grew up in Revelstoke, N.B., Canada, the daughter of James and Mary Alice Callahan White. She graduated from Bath High School, Bath, N.B. in 1937, before enrolling in Madigan Memorial School of Nursing in Houlton, Maine. In 1944, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Portland and continued her education at St. Joseph’s College, Standish (formerly known as the College of Our Lady of Mercy in Portland), Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and earned both her B.S. and M.S. in Nursing from Boston College. In addition to numerous conferences, workshops and short-term healthcare courses, Sister had the opportunity to attend a seminar in nursing at the University of Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1972. Sister M. Consuela began her ministry of nursing at the Madigan Hospital, Houlton, as Director of Nursing Services and of the School of Nursing in 1946. She served in this ministry for six years before going to Mercy Hospital, Portland where she ministered in the same capacity for twenty-two years. In 1974, Sister M. Consuela left Mercy Hospital to chair and develop the Department of Nursing at St. Joseph’s College, Standish, which still flourishes today. After twelve successful years, Sister was asked to assume the role of Vice-President of Mission Effectiveness at Mercy Hospital, Portland. In 1991, Sister M. Consuela retired having taught for forty years and capped more than a 1,000 nurses in her long and successful career. During her “retirement”, she visited Mercy mostly every day, cheering up all whom she met with her kind words and bright smile. Sister M. Consuela served on a variety of Boards and Committees throughout the state: Maine State Nurses Association, Southern Maine Comprehensive Health Association, Maine Regional Medical Program, Member of the Advisory Committee to University of Maine in Augusta Nursing Program, Chair of Health Task Force of Portland Model Cities Program, Advisory Board to Portland City Health Department, Member of the Board of Directors of Southern Regional Alcohol Council, Maine State Board of Nursing, New England Board of Nursing, Advisory Council of Religious for the Portland Diocese, St. Joseph’s Manor and the Board of Trustees, Mercy Hospital. She also served on her religious community’s Leadership Council. Sister M. Consuela was the recipient of many honors for her tireless efforts in healthcare. She was elected to Sigma Theta Tau (National Honor Society of Nursing); in 1974, she received the Rose Huddleston Award; in 1986, she was honored as the Outstanding Nurse Educator of the Year; in 1988, she received a Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Joseph’s College, as well as Professor Emerita; and in 2000 received the Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal. In 2002, Mercy Hospital established the Sister Mary Consuela White Award, given yearly to an outstanding Mercy nurse. St. Joseph’s College also presents an annual nursing award in her name. Sister M. Consuela has been a gentle, unassuming presence as well as a “giant of a woman” in Maine healthcare. To those who were close to her, she was a faith-filled religious; a woman of warmth and integrity, vision and compassion as well as a pioneer
in the nursing field that she loved so much. She passed this love of nursing on to her many students who regarded her as their mentor and inspiration. In Sister M. Consuela’s
own words, “Your motive in nursing has to be to do what’s best for the patient.” This she
believed, this she taught, this she lived. Sister M. Consuela White was predeceased by her parents; her sister, Dorothy White Godbout and her brother, Ronald J. White. She is survived by a dear cousin, Anna Gallivan; several nieces, nephews, cousins and their families; two devoted friends, Joyce Curry and Loretta Rogers and the Sisters in her religious community.
A visitation will be held from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 31st at St. Joseph’s Convent, 605 Stevens Avenue, Portland, with a 7:00 p.m. Prayer Service. Wednesday, June 1st, the visitation will be from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 4:30 p.m. with Rev. Donald McAllister officiating. Burial will be at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 2nd in New Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements by Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, 172 State Street, Portland. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at In lieu of flowers, gifts in Sr. M. Consuela’s memory can be sent to: Mercy Hospital, % Mercy Development Office, 144 State Street, Portland, Maine, 04101


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