Sister Eileen (Mary Daniel) McCarthy

If you were to ask Sister Eileen McCarthy to describe herself, she would most likely decline. However, if you were to ask anyone else who knows her, there wouldn’t be enough words or time to describe how generous and good she is because, as Sister Georgianna Coonis says, “that’s just the way she is.”

Sister Eileen grew up in San Francisco and attended Notre Dame High School there. After entering the Novitiate and making vows, she taught in Yuba City, San Jose, Watsonville, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, Covina, Saratoga and Campbell, California.

She loved working with young people and they loved her. Cindy Vrooman, a long-time friend of Sister Eileen, remembers a visit to her when she was teaching at Most Holy Trinity School. “[Sister Eileen] had evidently told the children I was coming. I appeared at the door and, not wanting to disrupt the class, waited to catch her attention. A student looked up and quietly went to Eileen and ever so politely said, 'Sister, we have a visitor.' The way the students looked up at me I felt like Mary Poppins. They were so welcoming, and that reflects the spirit of Eileen.”

Sister Eileen McCarthy with students at Most Holy Trinity School in San Jose., Calif

Sister Georgianna Coonis also recalls living with Sister Eileen in a convent in Covina that was frequently visited by mice that roamed the nearby fields. “We were not allowed to even mention the word ‘mice’ in the presence of Sister Eileen, who instead referred to them as ‘ducks.’ Visitors would occasionally be puzzled to come across a note on a cupboard door that read ‘Ducks! Do not open!’ “

When several Sisters were living at the Hermitage Arms Apartments in San Jose, the manager became ill, and Sister Eileen was asked to help manage the building "just for a short time;" she was a natural at responding kindly to the wide range of requests she was asked to consider. She never would have imagined that she would manage the apartment building for eight years!

Sister Eileen with friend Katy Moore, a former tenant at the Heritage Arms apartments.

Since moving to the Province Center in 2016, she has been chauffeuring Sisters to the airport and to medical appointments and assisting with other kinds of errands. She also writes cards for those who are participating in the Memorial/Tribute Program.

Sister Eileen doesn't know the meaning of, “no” and is always available to help. One thing's for sure, as Cindy says, “a visit with her lifts your spirits and makes you laugh.” With a ‘heart as wide as the world’ and a wonderful laugh, who wouldn’t want to get to know Sister Eileen?!


  1. Eileen: My name is Michelle Rose. I don't know if you'll remember me or not. I lived at Hermitage Arms, too, between 1989 and 1995, in B-6. I had the rabbit. After moving from Hermitage Arms, I lived in Campbell for almost 3 years, then moved back to Willow Glen for another 3 years. I then lived in Vacaville for 5 years, Sacramento for 10. I'm now living in Salem, Oregon. I moved up to Oregon just 3 years ago.

    I hope this finds you well!

    Michelle M. Rose

    1. Hello Michelle,

      I'm sure that Sr. Eileen will be happy to hear from you! Thanks for keeping in touch with her.

      (Communications Associate)

  2. Sister Eileen! So many treasured memories and one of our most beloved teachers at MHT. We loved all your banners and I still have an affinity for Mr. Sketch markers because of you! I’ve even carried on the legacy and continue to make birthday banners for my own daughters with Mr. Sketch markers. I also taught my girls to stop and say a prayer whenever we hear a siren, which I learned from you! Sending all my love as a dear first grader decades ago at MHT!

    1. Marielle, what a lovely tribute to Sr. Eileen! We'll make sure she sees your message.

      for the Sisters

  3. Dear Sister Eileen, you were my 6th and 8th grade teacher at St. CLARE SCHOOL IN Santa Clara. We have not corresponded in many years (last I remember was inviting you to my ordination. You sent a wonderful letter congratulating me. I retired from full time ministry in January. I pray you are well.

  4. Dear Sister Eileen,

    I think of you so often and have so many wonderful memories . Would love to visit and catch up with you!

  5. Sr. Eileen, I'm not sure if you remember my family, but you and Sr. Cindy babysat my sister, brother and I when my folks went away for the weekend. I remember St. Louise fondly. Prayers are with you, stay safe, and if you can remind Sr. G that I emailed her back.
    With God – Jennifer Mueller

    1. Thanks for reaching out to Sr. Eileen, Jennifer! We'll make sure she receives your message.

      Rachael for the Sisters

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