It is with great sadness that Mercy Volunteer Corps shares the news of the passing of Sister Ellen Cavanaugh, RSM. At age 89, Sr. Ellen passed peacefully on the morning of Monday, August 26, 2019.
After spending her early career serving in education in multiple schools throughout the greater Philadelphia area, Sr. Ellen became the founding Executive Director of Mercy Volunteer Corps in 1977. During her ten years as Executive Director, MVC expanded to place Mercy Volunteers in 15 cities. She was instrumental in laying the foundation for Mercy Volunteer Corps and set the stage for more than 1,200 Mercy Volunteers to serve across the United States and South America.
Following her time at Mercy Volunteer Corps, Sr. Ellen went on to accept a position as the Executive Director of Catholic Volunteer Network in Washington, D.C. She was known to many as a champion of volunteerism, and a passionate woman of Mercy. Locally, she was recognized by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who awarded Sr. Ellen the Saints John Neumann and Katharine Drexel Award for her efforts in volunteer services. Sr. Ellen was also awarded the Pontifical Honor of the Cross by Pope John Paul II for her passion and dedication to the volunteer ministry.
Sr. Ellen was beloved by our staff, Board of Directors, and Mercy Volunteers. As a strong advocate for volunteerism, an exemplary woman of Mercy, and most importantly as a friend, Sr. Ellen Cavanaugh will be deeply missed.
For funeral arrangements or to read Sr. Ellen’s remembrance published by the Sisters of Mercy please click here.