Sister Mary Seraphica Kelley was born Anne Virginia Kelley on November 12, 1915 in Chicago. She entered the BVM community on September 8, 1933.
On December 1, she did not abandon her fourth grade students, but herocally chose to remain with them to the very end. She was interred on December 4, 1958 at Mt. Carmel, Hillside, Illinois. Father: James Kelley Mother: Anna Kelley Brother: James W. Kelley On December 1, 1958, a fire broke out in the basement of Our Lady of the Angels catholic school in Chicago, educational home to approximately 1,600 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Firemen arrived and began rescuing children from the second floor windows, but the hellish conditions in some of the classrooms had become unbearable, and children were stumbling, crawling, clawing and fighting their way to the windows, trying to breathe and escape. Many jumped, fell or were pushed out before firemen could get to them. Some were killed in the fall, and scores more were injured. Many of the smaller children were trapped behind the frantic crowds at the windows, blocking any chance to escape through a window. Many of the little ones who managed to secure a spot at a window were then unable to climb over the three-foot-high window sills, or were pulled back by others frantically trying to scramble their way out. Eighty-seven children and three nuns died on December 1, 1958 as a result of the Our Lady of the Angels fire. Three more critically injured children died before Christmas followed by two more in 1959, the last one on August 9. In the end, 92 children and 3 nuns perished, bring the ghastly death toll to a staggering 95.
But for the innocent victims of Our Lady of the Angels, it was too late.