Sr Mary Stephen Cerney

Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Death 19 Feb 1996 (aged 66)
Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA
Burial Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, USA
Memorial ID 7477571 · View Source
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Sister M. Stephen Cerney, PhD, 66, of Topeka, KS, and of the Sisters of St. Francis in Tiffin, died Monday, February 19, 1996, at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka.

Mary Ellen Cerney was born in Detroit, MI, April 23, 1929, to Stephen and Mary (Neigoot) Cerney.

Surviving was a sister, Sister M. Jeanette Cerney, OSF, PhD of Topeka; two brothers, Michael J. Cerney of San Francisco, CA, and Raymond S. Cerney CPA, of Denver, CO.

Dr. Cerney attended elementary school at St. Mary's in Edgerton, OH, and St. Peter's in Ft. Wayne, IN, and graduated from St. Francis Convent High School in Tiffin.

She joined the Sisters of St. Francis in Tiffin in 1946 and graduated summa cum laude from the College of St. Francis in Joliet, IL, with a major in music and received her masters and doctorate degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cerney taught at the Catholic University of America, College of St. Francis in Joliet, Mary Manse College in Toledo, and Madonna College in Livonia, MI.

In 1969, she entered a one-year post-doctoral training program in clinical psychology at Topeka State Hospital, Topeka, KS, and a two-year post-doctoral training program in clinical psychology at the Karl Menninger Foundation.

She was a staff member at the Menninger Foundation for 23 years and continued to hold a didactic and supervisory appointment in the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences. She also was a clinical psychologist in private practice in Kansas City and in Topeka, KS, as of March 1, 1993, where she did psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, grief therapy, and hypnosis.

Dr. Cerney was a member of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, where she served as an organist, a eucharistic minister, and as past chairman of the Liturgy Committee.

Early in her career, Dr. Cerney taught at Carey, Willard, Toledo, St. Anthony, Peru, St. Sebastian, and Millersville.

In his homily at Sister Mary's funeral Mass, Fr. Allan Fillman, chaplain of the Sisters of St. Francis, spoke of the virtues of compassion and generosity in regard to Sister Mary. "It would seem to me," he said, "that anyone who is serious about therapy and counseling as a profession must have a sense of compassion. How could anyone with a hard heart or a mean spirit be of the slightest value or help to someone whose soul, spirit, or mind has been damaged. To enter into those most private and fragile chambers of the soul, one would have to move gently, humbly, and compassionately, or else risk doing greater harm."

"As for generosity, I have heard she was very generous with both time and temporal goods. Gifts were freely given; she was not attached to things, but was willing to share. Yet, maybe more difficult is to be generous with time, for it cannot be replaced. I was told she always returned phone calls. I don't think that a slight matter, but a story I was told which I find more impressive is that for some time, she took a little retarded girl under her wing by taking her to Mass each weekend, and doing a number of other kindnesses. In some ways, for a time, she was acting as a Big Sister."

Sister Mary was respected as a person and as a professional.

Fr. Bill Collins, MSC, writes, "I have known Mary since I first came to study at Menninger in 1980, in the division of Religion and Psychiatry. She was always most helpful, gracious, and straightforward. She was, of course, highly respected at Menninger. She contributed a great deal as a highly regarded staff member. It was a very significant ministry in an area of life that has had few representatives from the religious community. I always felt that her presence on the staff meant a great deal to everybody in Menninger. I count my relationship with her as a true blessing from the Lord in my life."

Kathryn, a colleague, said of her, "She was a remarkable and gifted human being whom we will all miss so much."

"It was my good fortune to be a client of Mary's during these past several years. Though we certainly had a professional relationship, I always felt like she was interested in me, not just as a client, but as a human being who deserved a chance at a better life," said one of her clients.

Another said, "I appreciated what she gave to me, both professionally and personally."

"She was very perceptive and knew the religious life from the inside out. We relied upon her valuable input for our decision making," stated an abbot from a religious community whose candidates she tested.

Visitation was held at St. Francis Convent Chapel.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, February 23, 1996, at St. Francis Convent Chapel, with the Rev. G. Allan Fillman officiating. Interment was in St. Francis Convent Cemetery.

Arrangements were under the direction of Hannay-Nemeth Mortuary.

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  • Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 22 May 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7477571
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sr Mary Stephen Cerney (23 Apr 1929–19 Feb 1996), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7477571, citing Saint Francis Convent Cemetery, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Anonymous (contributor 46517983) .